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Mines safety bulletin no. 174 | 28 September 2018 | Version 1

Incident at North Goonyella Coal Mine

What happened?

On 1 September 2018, Peabody Energy, operator of North Goonyella coal mine made a safety-based decision to remove all personnel from the underground mine. This was in response to elevated gas readings at the location of the longwall block that it had recently been mining.

Between 2 and 26 September Peabody made attempts to manage suspected heating of coal, to enable re-entry to the mine and continue mining operations.

On 27 September, smoke was observed rising from the main exhaust fan. This indicates combustion of coal underground.

As at 28 September, smoke continues to be emitted from the underground workings.

Further information and precautions

  • North Goonyella underground coal mine is located in the Bowen Basin, approximately 40 km from Moranbah. The mine produces metallurgical grade coal and employs approximately 300 workers.
  • On 2 September, the mine operator took the precaution of removing all persons from the vicinity of surface entries to the mine.
  • A surface exclusion zone has been set within the mine lease area to ensure the safety of all persons.
  • Operations, including recovery activity, have been suspended within the exclusion zone due to an unacceptable level of risk to persons, identified by the mine operator.
  • The mine continues to take measures to attempt to bring the situation under control.
  • The Mines Inspectorate is working closely with the mine operator.
  • There is a risk of uncontrolled fire underground and the potential for a subsequent explosion. Any potential explosion is considered to present no risk to the public, provided persons remain outside the exclusion zone.

Authorised by Luca Rocchi - Chief Inspector of Mines

Contact: Shaun Dobson, Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines , +61 7 3087 8379

Issued by Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy

Safety: This information is a guide only and is issued to promote safety through experience. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.
Placement: Place this announcement on noticeboards and ensure all relevant people in your organisation receive a copy.