Thursday, July 4, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

RSHQ Investigates Methane Ignition At Grosvenor Mine

By Amanda Wright

In the early hours of Saturday 29 June, Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) was alerted to a methane ignition at Grosvenor coal mine in Moranbah, west of Mackay. The incident prompted an immediate response, with coal inspectors dispatched to secure the site.
All employees were safely evacuated, and no injuries were reported. RSHQ CEO Rob Djukic emphasised that the primary concern for everyone involved is the continued safety of workers.
"The coal mine is in the process of being sealed and as a result, exclusion zones remain in place to ensure the safety of those on and near the site," Mr Djukic stated.
The Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) highlighted the persistent dangers posed by methane emissions to both workers and the climate. Grosvenor coal mine, an underground facility, has a history of methane-related issues since its opening eight years ago, including a notable explosion in 2020. The current fire, caused by methane gas igniting on the longwall coalface, has once again raised alarms.
QCC Energy Strategist Clare Silcock voiced relief that no injuries occurred during this incident but stressed the need for stricter methane emissions reporting.
"We are relieved that no one was injured in this round of methane-related problems at the Grosvenor coal mine. But this fire clearly shows coal companies can’t continue to downplay their methane emissions," Ms Silcock said.
Dale Last MP, Member for Burdekin and Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, expressed relief that no one was seriously injured. He extended thanks to first responders and emergency services.
"We need to be realistic that, following this incident, there is very little hope of the Grosvenor mine reopening. That means that the priority should be ensuring that affected workers are supported, including financially," Mr Last stated.
Mr Last acknowledged Anglo American’s offer to pay workers for seven days but urged the company to guarantee full payment for all workers, including subcontractors, until a final decision is made. He also stressed the importance of providing due benefits promptly if the mine closes.
"Make no mistake, the impact of this incident will be a major hit for places like Moranbah and for the state as a whole," he noted.
Anglo American reported positive progress towards the temporary sealing of Grosvenor Mine, with all efforts proceeding safely and to plan. The company said that air quality monitoring indicates no impact on community health, but residents are advised to seek medical advice if concerned.
"We continue to make positive progress towards the temporary sealing of Grosvenor Mine, with all work proceeding safely and to plan,” the company released in a statement on Tuesday.
“The sealing efforts mean the amount of oxygen available to the underground fire has greatly reduced. The QMRS mobile extinguisher unit (GAG) continues to help in this effort. As a result, smoke continues to reduce."

A localised ignition occurred on the longwall face at Grosvenor Mine, resulting in an underground combustion event. Anglo American is using remote-controlled technology to assist in the temporary sealing of the mine. Photo supplied: Anglo American

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