1600 mining workers stranded by Cyclone Olwyn

AUSTRALIA'S peak mining union has accused US energy giant Chevron of failing to evacuate workers from West Australia's Gorgon gas project, despite a category three cyclone bearing down on the region.

The West Australian branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Engineering Union told the ABC up to 1,600 workers were forced to sleep on blow-up mattresses in common areas of the project's accommodation camps because there were not enough rooms to house them.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Olwyn is approaching the Pilbara coast and expected to make landfall near Exmouth in the early hours of this morning.

The WA Bureau of Meteorology said the cyclone has wind speeds of 120 kilometres per hour with wind gusts of 165 kilometres per hour.

Gorgon, Australia's biggest resources project, is being built on Barrow Island, off the north west coast of Western Australia.

In a statement, Chevron said the company was following normal cyclone procedures.

"We understand there will be some inconveniences as with any significant weather event, however Chevron Australia places the highest priority on the health and safety of its employers and contractors and has a rigorous cyclone preparation plan in place," the statement said.

"We have purpose built cyclone rated facilities in place at the Gorgon project on Barrow Island."

More on this at ABC News

Topics:  cyclone editors picks mining western australia

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