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Bowen Basin mine reopening flagged after workplace tragedy

Anglo American mine
Anglo American mine

A coal operation that was rocked by death will soon resume operating in Central Queensland’s Isaac region.

Anglo American recently confirmed preparations are underway to restart its Moranbah North Coal Mine, 211km southwest of Mackay.

Work was suspended at the mine site after Mastermyne Group employee Gavin Feltwell suffered a fatal head injury. He died while helping Mastermyne coworkers dismantle underground conveyor equipment on March 25 at about 10pm. Emergency services attended the scene but the 59-year-old’s wounds were too critical. He passed away shortly after.

“Operations at Moranbah were suspended following a fatal incident on 25 March 2022, with preparation activities currently underway for restart at the next panel as planned, subject to approval from the regulator,” Anglo said in its latest quarterly report.

The multinational proponent revealed total metallurgical coal production during the first quarter of 2022 dropped 1.1 million tonnes (Mt) to 2.2 Mt compared to the previous corresponding period.

“Metallurgical coal production decreased by 32 per cent due to the delayed longwall move at Moranbah and the end of production from Grasstree,” the company said.

“Moranbah was suspended following a fatal underground incident in late March, with full-year guidance revised to 17 Mt to 19 Mt (previously 20 Mt to 22 Mt), subject to regulator approval for restart at the next panel as planned.”

Mastermyne and parent company Metarock are reviewing their organisations and independently investigating exactly how Feltwell died. They promise to quickly roll out changes to help prevent another on-the-job tragedy.

“The scope of the independent review will cut across the Mastermyne and PYBAR operating divisions, with any recommendations or improvements intended to be implemented immediately,” the company said.

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union’s own safety inspectors are separately conducting independent investigations at the mine site.

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AMSJ April 2022