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Grosvenor mine inspected 18 times before explosion

Business

Anglo American’s Grosvenor mine had been inspected 18 times in the two years before the May explosion which injured five workers, according to the Queensland Government.

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In a response to a Question on Notice in State Parliament, Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said two safety complaints relating to the mine were received by the Mines Inspectorate between July 1, 2018, as well as on May 6, this year when the explosion at the mine occurred.

Over the almost two year period, the Mines Inspectorate issued three directives and 10 substandard condition or practice (SCPs) notices to the mine.

It is understood that these could relate to minor issues and not unusual, but one of the directions related to gas monitoring and another to “managing the investigation of the serious accident”.

Lynham said under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999, the Mines Inspectorate did not have the power to issue infringement notices; however, under that Act, an inspector may issue directives requiring certain action in prescribed circumstances, including where an inspector considers risk is at an unacceptable level or a mine’s safety and health management system is ineffective.

“Since the May 6 explosion a further two directives have been issued, both relating to investigation of the incident,” Lynham said.

“The recently established independent board of inquiry will inquire into recent events at the Grosvenor coal mine and other underground coal mines.

“The board’s consideration will potentially extend to the subject matter of directives and SCPs issued to the mine.

“The board will produce a report on its findings and recommendations at the conclusion of the inquiry, which will be tabled in parliament.”

Anglo said the Queensland mining industry was one of the most highly regulated in the world, and the inspections were a key part of how the legislation functions.

“Regular visits from the Queensland Mines Inspectorate are not unusual at any mine site, and we comply with any directives that are provided following inspections,” a spokesman said.

“We proactively learn from all incidents, and are cooperating fully with the Board of Inquiry.

“Through our own expert investigation into the Grosvenor methane ignition and other inquiries underway, we know we will learn more to help us to improve the management of methane and safety in underground mining.”

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