Queensland is stepping up controls on methane gas monitoring in underground coal mines.
The new health and safety regulations are set to come into effect from January 6.
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the prevention and early detection of methane-related risks was vital to protect workers in Queensland’s nine operating underground coal mines.
Dr Lynham said the reforms had come after extensive consultation with key stakeholders including unions, the Queensland Resources Council, site senior executives and, most importantly, workers on the coal face.
“The resources regulator will continue to work with underground coal mines to ensure these new measures are implemented as soon as possible,” he said.
“Our reforms have revolutionised the protection, detection and safety net for all current and former mine workers.
“We will remain vigilant in ensuring our reforms continue to have effect because all Queenslanders, especially our mine workers, deserve a safe workplace.”
CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland District safety inspector Jason Hill said the government was stepping in because industry had shown it wasn’t up to the task of managing dangerous gas levels underground.
“We have witnessed too many gas exceedances in underground mines in the past two years,” said Mr Hill.
“There have been over 100 occasions where methane levels have been above the danger limit of 2.5 per cent – including recently at Anglo’s Grasstree mine.
“Disasters like New Zealand’s Pike River show us the deadly consequences when dangerous gases aren’t properly monitored and managed.
“These new reforms send an important message to industry that if mining companies can’t or won’t ensure the highest levels of safety, the government will step in.
“We welcome this intervention to improve underground gas monitoring and management and look forward to further improvements to Queensland’s mine safety regime.”