Anglo American’s Moranbah North mine shut after gas levels spark fears for workers’ safety | Ralph-Lauren

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One of the largest underground mines in Queensland has ceased operations to ensure worker safety after increased gas levels were detected.

Anglo American found heightened gas levels along its longwall at the Moranbah North mine on Saturday.

The mine is less than 15 kilometres from where five men were injured at the Grosvenor coal mine, also owned by Anglo American, last year.

The men suffered horrific injuries when methane ignited in an underground section of the mine.

CFMEU representative Stephen Smyth said the danger posed to workers was unacceptable.

“We’re not playing this up. This is serious stuff … In the last two to three years we’ve had a number of explosions,” he said.

“This is an underground mine that employs a lot of workers who need to be sure that their safety is going to be paramount.”

Coal mine workers holding signs by the side of a road.
The miners’ union says workers still have concerns about gas and safety issues at Bowen Basin coal mines.(Supplied: Kelly Vea Vea)

Mr Smyth said workers had the Grosvenor blast on their minds.

“They’ve been concerned since Grosvenor. They’re even more concerned now at Moranbah North,” he said.

Anglo American said in a statement its workforce’s safety was its priority.

“At the time of the incident, we had been mining through some particularly challenging geology and every precaution was being taken,” it said.

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate said it issued a directive to the mine operator to suspend all operations underground until the site senior executive could demonstrate the risk was at an acceptable level for coal mine workers to return underground.

Inquiry hearings to resume

The Coal Mining Board of Inquiry, which was set up to examine the Grosvenor explosion, identified gas exceedances were a major danger to miners.

Anglo American has indicated it wants to resume operations at Moranbah North and to re-enter Grosvenor to conduct safety inspections.

Map showing the location of coal mines near Moranbah
The Moranbah North Mine is not far from the Grosvenor Mine, where an explosion injured five men last May.(Supplied: Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy)

With inquiry hearings set to resume, Mr Smyth said he wanted clear changes to protect workers.

“The underground sector needs more than a safety reset. There needs to be legislative change. There needs to be real action taken.”

Resources Minister Scott Stewart declined an interview, and in a statement said he would not comment while the Board of Inquiry continued its work.

“I do not plan to provide commentary during the Board of Inquiry as it is important that the board make its findings without perceived interference or influence,” he said.



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