An earth collapse at PYBAR Mining Services’ Henty gold mine in Tasmania has trapped one mineworker underground.

Colleagues of the employee raised the alarm when they failed to contact or find him, reported The Guardian.

According to the newspaper, the three co-workers discovered a section of collapsed earth in the area where the missing worker had been working. He was reported to be a 20-minute descent underground.

The news agency quoted Australian Emergency Management Department as saying: “Police, fire and mine rescue crews have not yet located a man missing inside Henty Gold Mine after an earth collapse in the early hours of this morning.

“Search crews have now returned to the surface after using a thermal imaging drone and a robotic camera to investigate the collapsed area.”

Operations have currently been suspended at the Henty gold operation while rescue efforts continue to progress.

PYBAR Mining Services chief executive Brendan Rouse said:  “Our immediate priority is to ensure the safety and welfare of the person not accounted for, his colleagues at the mine, and those involved in the rescue.

“We are working closely with relevant stakeholders to do everything possible to ensure we access the area as safely and quickly as possible.”

The company is in the process of continuing to assist the relevant regulatory authorities with their inquiries.

PYBAR Mining Services noted that it is unable to provide any further information with respect to the incident.

In January 2019, at least 30 people were killed and seven were injured due to the collapse of a gold mine in the northern part of Afghanistan.