Aug 11, 2017

Major miners face action for coal dust breaches

Major miners face action for coal dust breaches

Glencore’s Oaky North and Oaky No.1 mines and Anglo American’s Moranbah North and Grosvenor sites have been named in Parliament as allegedly failing to meet their dust-monitoring obligations during the second quarter of this year.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said he had been advised that inspectors were issuing directives to the four mines.

“Any failure to meet dust-monitoring obligations is, in my opinion, a demonstration that there is a serious issue with the safety and health management systems at these mines,” Dr Lynham said.

“Under the Act, the inspectors can require a full and independent audit of the mine’s safety and health management system instructions, or prosecute the mine or close the mine.

“Based on our knowledge of diseases caused by coal dust, it is my view that any failure to comply reflects a gross disregard of an operator’s obligations to protect their workforce.”

Dr Lynham said decisions about actions to deal with noncompliance were made by a mines inspector.

“Mines inspectors have statutory independence and I therefore have no authority to direct them. I have voiced my concerns to the Mines Inspectorate and have been assured that decisive action is under way,” he told Parliament last night.

Glencore released a statement acknowledging that its was non-compliant with completing the required level of dust monitoring/reporting at the Oaky Number 1 and Oaky North coal mines in the June quarter.

“We are very disappointed and have begun an investigation into this matter that will include both internal and external personnel,” the company said.

“We can confirm that for the current September Quarter 2017 both mines have completed dust sampling. We will work with the Queensland Mines Inspectorate to ensure this won’t happen again.”

Anglo American Metallurgical Coal chief executive officer David Diamond said the company was totally committed to the recognised standard for respirable dust monitoring in coal mines recently introduced by the Queensland Government and would ensure that all of its mines were totally compliant.

“Our dust monitoring is carried out as a priority and is undertaken by independent and accredited testing organisations,” he said.

“The second quarter sampling targets of two AAMC mines did not fully comply with the new regulations. We will work with the Queensland Government to urgently address the issue and to ensure full compliance.

“We can confirm that during the same period, we undertook independent monitoring procedures to ensure that the health and safety of all employees and contractors was not comprised at all of our sites.”

 

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