Smoke billows out of North Goonyella from a fire that started in September 2018.
Smoke billows out of North Goonyella from a fire that started in September 2018.

Firm launches class action lawsuit over North Goonyella mine

A CLASS action lawsuit has been filed against Peabody Energy in relation to its North Goonyella mine in Moranbah.

Bragar Eagel & Squire filed the complaint in the United States District Court earlier this week on behalf of investors that purchased Peabody stock between April 3, 2017 and October 28, 2019.

The complaint alleges Peabody failed to disclose and would continue to omit, adverse facts about the safety practices at North Goonyella.

This includes allegations the company failed to implement adequate safety controls to prevent the risk of a spontaneous combustion and failed to follow its own safety procedures.

The complaint stated the mine was at a heightened risk of shutdown as a result.

It said these “inadequate safety practices” were revealed when an underground fire in September 2018 put the long term viability of the site into question.

Longwall mining at North Goonyella mine 160km west of Mackay in Queensland's Bowen Basin.
Longwall mining at North Goonyella mine 160km west of Mackay in Queensland's Bowen Basin.

The complaint further alleges that, following the fire, Peabody continued to omit facts about its plan to restart the mine.

More stories:

‘Ridiculous’: Red and green tape hampering mining industry

Activists plan phone jam ‘party’ to halt mine’s future

Half of mining companies plan to reduce interstate FIFO

In a statement, a Peabody spokeswoman said: “We are confident our disclosures have been proper.”

Earlier this month, the Daily Mercury reported the Queensland Mines Inspectorate’s investigation into the fire had been finalised, but further steps needed to be taken before a final report about the probe was publicly released.

Workers prepare to re-enter Zone 1 of the North Goonyella underground coal mine for the first time in 10 months.
Workers prepare to re-enter Zone 1 of the North Goonyella underground coal mine for the first time in 10 months.

A Resources Safety and Health Queensland spokesman said the inspectorate was now considering what action, if any, would be taken against any persons involved in the September 2018 incident.

“The Queensland Mines Inspectorate is currently considering potential compliance activity in relation to this incident,” the spokesman said.

“Preliminary findings from the incident were released on August 9, 2019, and further information about the investigation will be published once the compliance process has finalised.”

A time frame for when this process would be finished was not provided.

Subscriber benefits:

Your daily dose of Harry Bruce cartoons

Five ways to get more from your digital subscription

WATCH: Your guide to reading the Daily Mercury online