Crucial coal mine safety report released
The Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry provided Part II of its report to Resources Minister Scott Stewart late last month, and it was this week tabled in Parliament.
It sets out the Board’s findings and recommendations on the cause of the serious accident that occurred at Anglo American’s Grosvenor mine on May 6, 2020, injuring five men, and 27 methane exceedance high potential incidents in the lead-up to that event.
The recommendations cover issues including labour hire arrangements in the coal sector, the roles of site and industry safety and health representatives, and gas management.
The report forward highlights the selfless efforts of those who headed towards the area of danger after the May 6 explosion at the Grosvenor mine near Moranbah and assisted the injured men.
“The Board particularly acknowledges the efforts of the longwall deputy, Mr Adam Maggs. He continued on towards the tailgate and assisted the last of the injured workers back to the maingate and, before proceeding to the surface with other workers, satisfied himself that there was no one left behind,” chairperson Terry Martin SC and board member Andrew Clough write.
The report described the incident at the underground coal mine as unquestionably terrifying, with two forceful pressure waves sufficient to knock a person over.
A brief but intense methane explosion at the tailgate end of the longwall left five men seriously injured.
“Each of the five workers was seriously burned. The only lighting then available came from the workers’ cap lamps,” the report states.
“Notwithstanding their condition, they made their way, helping each other where they could, towards the maingate. Their courage and resilience is inspiring.”
Chief executive officer of Anglo American’s metallurgical coal business, Tyler Mitchelson said the company was already acting on the recommendations of the Board of Inquiry’s report, including $60 million of investment in safety initiatives over the last year.
“We are today committing a further $5 million to fund underground mining research, in partnership with our industry research and technology partners, to improve the industry’s knowledge in certain technical areas,” he said.
“We have been clear from the outset that the incident on 6 May 2020 in which five of our colleagues were badly injured was unacceptable. The safety of our workforce is always our first priority.”