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GOVERNMENT & LEGISLATION Surface Fire Management

Victorian mining regulator places mines on notice

Hazelwood mine fire in the latrobe valley

The Victorian mining regulator has placed mines on notice over fire safety during the upcoming summer period.

Earth Resources Regulation is warning coal mine operators to ensure they are meeting their obligations regarding fire safety ahead of the summer high fire danger period.

Executive Director Anthony Hurst said recently, “We’re working closely with WorkSafe and the CFA to ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place for the Latrobe Valley coal mines ahead of the summer fire danger period.”

“We will continue to conduct inspections and take enforcement action when necessary to require coal miners to fulfil their obligations to protect the valley community and environment”

The recent warning comes as EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn Coal Mine was issued with a Notice to take action to comply with their approved Work Plan to ensure safety procedures are followed to minimise fire risks.

On a recent inspection to the Yallourn Coal Mine, Earth Resources Regulation inspectors along with CFA counterparts witnessed on-site grinding works producing sparking without wetting the coal underneath, contravening approved processes for minimising fire risk.

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The mining regulator’s notice requires the mine operator to engage an independent expert to thoroughly examine the cause of the incident and undertake staff training to ensure all work practices with the potential to cause fire are carried out in accordance with the Work Plan.

After the 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire, new procedures have been in place to manage fire risks. Inspections, such as the one which took place at Yallourn, are part of the process to ensure mine operators are meeting their obligations to protect the Latrobe Valley community and environment.

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AMSJ Nov 2021