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Frictional ignitions at a Queensland underground

Frictional ignition warning at coal mines

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate has issued an alert regarding recent frictional ignition events at a Queensland mine.

In a brief issued to industry on the 14th April 2020, a senior undergound mines inspector said “An underground coal mine experienced two frictional ignition events on a longwall face. The events occurred approximately eight days apart, with both being extinguished successfully.”

The industry brief told mining companies In both incidents the shearer was in the process of cutting through a geological structure (a down throw fault) on the longwall face. Additional controls introduced to manage the hazard after the first event proved inadequate to prevent a reoccurrence.

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“A formal investigation by the mines inspectorate is being conducted” the inspector said.

The brief says that “All SSEs should review and examine the adequacy of the controls at their mine to prevent the occurrence of frictional ignition events. Controls such as elimination or substitution should be sought, rather than administrative procedural controls.”

The incident reportedly occurred in a central Queensland mine near Emerald.

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AMSJ April 2022