Gas ignition ‘could have had disastrous consequences’
A GAS ignition at a second Bowen Basin mine has created further concern about mine safety ahead of a Board of Inquiry into the issue.
In a public Facebook post, CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said he had a firm view on what was happening in underground coal mines and would ensure union members were heard at the inquiry.
“There was a frictional ignition of gas at the Carborough Downs UG mine on Friday night,” he said.
“It occurred in a development section while rib support was being installed.
“It has ignited layering of methane at the top of the rib near the roof near the workers.
“Very fortunate there are no injuries but certainly another unwanted event.
“Action needs to be taken by those are directly responsible for health and safety.
“We need to ensure protection for all who speak up but it needs to happen.”
Mine owner Fitzroy Australia Resources has suspended mining activities in the area pending the outcome of an investigation by the company and the Queensland Mines Inspectorate.
A company spokesman said the flame was extinguished quickly and no one was injured.
Burdekin MP Dale Last said he was surprised to hear of another incident so close to the Grosvenor Mine incident in May.
But he then felt relief it was under control “relatively quickly” and no one was injured.
“It highlights the inherit dangers in underground mining and that need to ensure the highest safety levels are applied,” he said.
“It’s a potentially high-risk incident that could have had disastrous consequences and we should be treating any of those types of incidents seriously and making sure there’s a full and comprehensive investigation surrounding them.”
Asked if he thought the State Government’s Board of Inquiry would flesh out more information that could help make mines safer, the LNP member said he hoped for that outcome.
“That’s why I called for the terms of reference to be broadened to incorporate the role of the inspectorate and mine inspections because I believe it’s important we have an understanding of that process, what comes out of it, how the recommendations are adopted and how they’re followed up to ensure full compliance,” he said.
“So I think that’s crucial in this board of inquiry, to not only look at the particular incident but the role of the Mines Inspectorate more broadly.
“Because out of these investigations will come recommendations and it’s important those recommendations are acted upon, they are adopted across the industry, and there is follow up to ensure compliance.”
Mr Smyth, who did not return the Daily Mercury’s calls, noted in his post that he met Grosvenor Mine union members two days ago in Moranbah.
He said it was important workers were prepared to come forward to speak at the upcoming inquiry.
“We need a stronger regulator out on the job each and every day,” he said.
“We must stand up, speak out fight back to ensure we return home each and every day.”
The board of inquiry, ordered by Mines Minister Anthony Lynham following the Grosvenor blast, will start public hearings from August 4.