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Underground mine probed for faulty fire suppression system

Driverless loader fire
Driverless loader fire

A subterranean operation failed to extinguish an unexpected blaze affecting driverless underground machinery.

Authorities are investigating why a fire affecting an autonomous heavy vehicle was not automatically put out. The remote-control automated loader ended up being written off at an undisclosed mine.

“The mine’s fire suppression system initiated but did not fully extinguish the fire. The loader continued to burn, and the mine’s emergency response was activated,” the New South Wales Resources Regulator said in an incident summary.

When employees noticed the underground machinery was still alight, a full evacuation was ordered until the flames subsided.

“All people were accounted for in refuge chambers and the loader was allowed to burn until the fire went out,” the summary said.

Investigators made the following preliminary recommendations:

  • operators should ensure risk control measures to prevent the occurrence of fires, and response to underground fires, are implemented and remain effective
  • emergency response procedures should be routinely examined to ensure minimum standards are met or exceeded.

Click here to read the full incident summary.

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