Four miners still in hospital two months after Grosvenor explosion


It had been disclosed that high methane levels were frequently reported at the Grosvenor mine in the months leading up to the incident.

Board chairman, retired Queensland District Court judge Terry Martin SC, said “all relevant parties” and their work would be considered.

The board is yet to set dates for public hearings for the inquiry, which will be live-streamed and publicly accessible.

“There is no prescription, nor proscription, as to how the board is to inquire into all incidents. All relevant evidence will be sought and considered,” Mr Martin said.

“A number of notices to produce documents (attendance notices) have been given to various bodies.

“Whilst it is an offence to fail to comply, all such bodies have been co-operative. Many more such notices will follow.”

The board will make recommendations for future improvements to mine safety and health practices and procedures.

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In a statement issued on May 21, when the board of inquiry was announced, Anglo American said it was the largest underground coal miner in Queensland, in the “methane rich” area of the Bowen Basin.

The methane levels in the company’s coal mines were “proactively managed” including exceeding regulatory requirements for methane sensors, the statement said, with many “high potential incidents” of methane accumulation reported to the Mines Inspectorate.

Chief executive of the company’s metallurgical coal business Tyler Mitchelson said the safety of its people “is what is most important” and the company would co-operate fully with the inquiry.

“We want answers as to why an ignition of methane occurred at Grosvenor mine and we understand that everyone else does too,” he said in May.

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate conducted 18 inspections of the mine between August of 2018 and the May explosion.

Anglo American has also gone to public consultation for an expansion to its second underground longwall coal mine in the Moranbah area, the Moranbah North Mine next to Grosvenor.

The expansion aims to open up access to 200 million tonnes of high quality coking coal and extend the life of the mine by 16 years.

About 660 people are employed at the Moranbah North mine.

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