"They're hoping to get the truck out tonight and they're looking to have the operations up and running by the morning."

Kanowna Belle, 20km north-east of the mining town of Kalgoorlie, is said to contain 14 million ounces of gold.

Dangerous work 

In 2006, 17 miners were working in the Beaconsfield gold mine on the southern Australian island of Tasmania when it collapsed.

Fourteen escaped, one was killed, and the remaining two were rescued after surviving for two weeks about one kilometre underground.

Mining accidents in China and South Africa killed at least 40 people this month.

Sixteen Chinese coal miners were found dead after being trapped underground for more than 30 hours, while South African police recovered the dead bodies of 23 miners after a fire in a gold mine.