UPDATE 1-Australia’s Superpit gold mine evacuated after quake

* Precautionary evacuation of Super Pit gold mine

* BHP checking Kalgoorlie smelter for damage

* Town buildings damaged
(Updates with more details, background)

SYDNEY, April 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Australia’s Super Pit and
Mount Charlotte gold mines evacuated workers on Tuesday after
an earthquake rocked Western Australia state’s Kalgoorlie
mining region, a Super Pit spokeswoman said.

The evacuation was precautionary and emergency services
said they had not received any reports of damage to mines in
the area.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.2 quake, centered 30
km (19 miles) northeast of the town of Kalgoorlie, damaged
several buildings in Kalgoorlie and the nearby mining town of
Boulder.

The Super Pit gold mine is owned 50-50 by Newmont Mining
corp (NEM.N: ) and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: ) and produces about
850,000 ounces of gold a year.

The Super Pit is a giant hole dominating one end of
Kalgoorlie’s business district, measuring 3.6 km (2.2 miles)
long, 1.6 km (1 mile) wide and 512 metres (1,680 ft) deep.

A spokeswoman for mining giant BHP Billiton (BHP.AX: )
(BLT.L: ) said checks were underway to determine if any BHP
operations in the area were affected by the quake.

BHP operates a nickel smelter in Kalgoorlie and purchases
nickel ores from a handful of independent mining companies in
the Kambalda region, about 50 km (31 miles) outside Kalgoorlie
town.

There are reports of residents in Kambalda feeling the
quake.

Kalgoorlie was founded in the outback goldfields in 1893
and 50 mines still operate in the district.

Kalgoorlie is 600 km (370 miles) east of the city of Perth,
surrounded by desert, and 1,200 km (745 miles) from the iron
ore Pilbara region in northwest Australia.

The Kalgoorlie quake was much larger than the mining
explosions that regularly rock towns the town, said Geoscience
Australia seismologist David Jepsen.

“This is the largest event in the last 25 years in this
region and it might be the largest since we started recording,”
he said.

Emergency services said residents in Kalgoorlie and Boulder
had been told to turn off electricity, gas and water due to the
quake and aftershocks. (Reporting by Michael Perry and Jim
Regan; Editing by Mark Bendeich)

UPDATE 1-Australia’s Superpit gold mine evacuated after quake