A mining giant is close to restarting a coal operation in Central Queensland’s Isaac region.
Anglo American confirmed it will soon reopen its Grosvenor Coal Mine near Moranbah, 198km southwest of Mackay.
The mine site has been closed since an underground explosion hospitalised five workers with severe burns, kidney failure and lung blood-clots back on 6 May 2020. After 1.5 years of investigation into work practices and planning, the operation recently received the nod to resume operating.
“Following confirmation that the regulator is satisfied that longwall mining operations at Grosvenor mine can commence, we are finalising our plans for a safe restart,” Anglo American CEO Tyler Mitchelson said according to News Limited.
“Over the past 18 months, we have worked with leading industry experts and invested significantly in technology, data analytics, equipment and infrastructure, achieving a number of advancements in the way underground coal mines operate … [and] I would like to thank our Grosvenor workforce for their patience and support as we have worked through our plans for a safe and successful restart.”
Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) would not confirm exactly what date the mine will reopen.
“[The compliance directive preventing longwall production] had now been satisfied,” a spokesperson said according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“RSHQ will continue to work with operators to prevent workers being exposed to unacceptable levels of risk from coal mining operations, and to deliver on recommendations made in the Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry.”
AMSJ can reveal some workers re-entered the mine to conduct safety and compliance inspections, and restored power and monitor gas levels during April 2021. The proponent also permanently sealed the affected longwall 104 area.
The inquiry’s final report discovered the mine’s gas drainage systems failed to cope with the production rate. The publication also identified 14 high-potential cases of methane exceedance in the eight weeks leading up to the explosion.
“Gas emissions being generated by the mine’s rate of production were in excess of the capacity of the mine’s gas drainage system,” the report said according to the broadcaster.
The inquiry made 40 recommendations, including further reviews and engineering studies. The matter was also referred to the work health and safety prosecutor for potential charges.
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