Ben Nelson suffered burns to his body after an explosion at the Collinsville Coal Mine in October 2012.
Ben Nelson suffered burns to his body after an explosion at the Collinsville Coal Mine in October 2012. Jacob Miley

Ben getting his operation 5 years after mine explosion

BADLY injured former mine worker Ben Nelson is having surgery after a frustrating setback last week.

Mr Nelson was engulfed in flames in a 2012 accident at the Thiess-operated Collinsville mine.

In August, the Industrial Magistrates Court in Brisbane awarded him $50,000.

The former coal mine worker made a trip from northern NSW to Sydney last week.

But just when he was ready to have surgery, he said he was told the money had not been paid, and his skin graft operation could not go ahead.

NewsRegional contacted Thiess about the matter last week.

Mr Nelson said Thiess then contacted him, said there'd been a mix-up, and apologised.

"I don't think it's a mix-up at all,” Mr Nelson's lawyer Greg Walsh said this week.

"It's stressful to him. He's a nice bloke.”

Mr Walsh said renowned surgeon Associate Professor Peter Haertsch was operating on Mr Nelson, who was in hospital on Tuesday.

Thiess did not make any comment last week so it was unclear why the payment delay had happened.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines said last week it had alerted the State Penalties Enforcement Registry, which had the "necessary powers to pursue full payment for Mr Nelson”.

The department said it had sent Mr Thomas a letter with advice about the process.

In August, Thiess was ordered to pay an offender levy of $118.80, a $45,000 fine, and the $50,000 moiety or gratuity.

Thiess was also told to pay $45,050.75 in court costs to DNRM, which took the firm to court.

Mr Nelson previously said he hoped the court ruling would improve safety for miners and contractors.-NewsRegional


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