An aerial image of Anglo American's Grosvenor Mine. Picture: Daryl Wright
An aerial image of Anglo American's Grosvenor Mine. Picture: Daryl Wright

Anglo’s new measures to prevent Grosvenor mine repeat

A PILOT study at Moranbah North mine and automation of longwall equipment are some of the changes Anglo American will make in response to the May 6 Grosvenor mine blast.

It comes after the company's Queensland staff were briefed earlier today on initial findings into the underground explosion that horrifically injured five men.

Anglo American's internal investigators have been unable to determine what sparked the blast.

The company's metallurgical coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson said the miner needed to further improve its controls "to respond to the specific combination of factors of an unusual and large overpressure event in the vicinity of the longwall with a potential ignition source".

"By drawing on technical learnings and information as it becomes available from the investigations, we have begun a review of our site methane management controls, which includes assessing additional technology options and applying any further improvements across our underground mines," he said.

More stories:

'Traumatic time': Grosvenor Mine blast victim speaks out

Explosion investigation under way at Grosvenor mine

27 serious Grosvenor incidents months before explosion

Anglo American has launched a pilot study at its Moranbah North mine to assess the use of pressure sensors to remove power from the longwall face as an additional control if a significant overpressure event occurs.

The remote operation centre at Grosvenor Mine. Picture: Glenn Hunt
The remote operation centre at Grosvenor Mine. Picture: Glenn Hunt

"While pressure sensors are already in use today, across the industry they have not been integrated for this particular purpose," Mr Mitchelson said.

"Learnings from the pilot will be incorporated across our underground mines and shared with industry.

"We have already invested considerably in progressing the automation of our longwall equipment and expediting this work will also be part of the solution to reducing risks in underground mining."

Mr Mitchelson said it was "unacceptable" that five miners were seriously injured at Grosvenor.

"We will ensure that all relevant learnings from investigations under way and the Board of Inquiry are incorporated across our business," he said.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said while the union welcomed any improvement to workplace safety, more effort was needed in finding and preventing the source of the tragedy.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth. Picture: Daryl Wright
CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth. Picture: Daryl Wright

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"Pressure sensors would not have stopped what happened at Grosvenor," Mr Smyth said.

"Put the effort into addressing where the source of it came from.

"The source at Grosvenor was certainly gas and the ignition source is unknown, but we need to find that out.

"We may never find that out because they're sealing that part of the mine up."

Mining at Grosvenor remains suspended, however the workforce has continued to be supported on full pay.



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