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Mines safety alert no. 269 | 28 June 2011 | Version 1

Potential contamination of underground mine ventilation by blast fumes generated at an open-cut mine

Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available. The information in this publication is what is known at the time of writing.

We issue Safety Notices to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious incident, raise awareness of risks, and prompt assessment of your existing controls.

Mine type

All coal mines


The prevailing wind carried the blast fume cloud from an open-cut coal mine close to nearby ventilation intakes for an underground coal mine.


No equipment or machinery involved.


Contamination of underground coal mine ventilation with noxious gases from open-cut blasting.


Such an incident may occur if blast management at the open-cut mine fails to consider the potential for blast fume cloud contamination of the intake airways of nearby underground coal mines.


Blast fume sucked into the ventilation system of an underground coal mine can immediately affect the health of large numbers of coal mine workers.


  1. That blast plans at open-cut coal mines note the:
    • location of any nearby underground coal mines and associated intake airways
    • distance to the underground mine.
  2. The blast plans at open-cut coal mines consider:
    • wind direction and strength
    • blast history and characteristics.
  3. That communication and liaison with the underground mine allow for evacuation should the fume not follow predicted direction of travel.
  4. That blasting be postponed should conditions indicate likely ill effects at the underground mine.
  5. That, where relevant, an underground mine's principal hazard management plan for emergency response include managing a blast fume risk.

Authorised by Chris Skelding - Manager, Safety and Health, Central


Issued by Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation

Placement: Place this announcement on noticeboards and ensure all relevant people in your organisation receive a copy.