Originally published on our sister-site – AMSJ.COM.AU, by John Ninness
The Queensland Government have confirmed that an investigation is underway in respect of the North Goonyella mine fire. The Department of Natural Resources, Mines & Energy Regulators will examine evidence for breaches of the Coal Mining Safety & Health Act by Peabody in relation to the North Goonyella mine fire incident. At this stage, it is not certain whether the regulator will lay charges.
The information comes following a request for information by AMSJ from the Queensland Government in early October under right to information laws. AMSJ requested a range of Government held information relation to the incident and potential causes. Immediately following our request, the Queensland Government announced an investigation.
Our request was then denied on the basis of an on-going investigation. 1300 documents were identified in relation to the search which encompassed “All Mine Safety Inspection reports, including gas monitoring and assessment conducted by the Department in relation to a spontaneous combustion event at North Goonyella Coal Mine.”
The Department advised “The documents in question relate to an investigation into the possible contravention of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (the CMSH Act). I am therefore satisfied that the documents relate to the investigation of a contravention or possible contravention of law.”
The Queensland Government has also confirmed that no written briefing notes on the North Goonyella mine fire were provided to the Mine Safety Commissioner or the Queensland Minister (Anthony Lynham) responsible for mining safety in relation to the incident.
A former departmental employee told AMSJ that the practice is highly irregular. “Staff were evacuated from the mine as a result of gas on a number of occasions, you would expect that (at the very least) the Minister would have demanded a formal briefing note from the Department. It seems highly irregular that 1300 documents were produced but not one went to the Minister.”
Read more of AMSJ’s coverage on the North Goonyella Mine Fire.