ENGIE 0N TRIAL FOR MINE FIRE
THE owner of Hazelwood coal mine will face trial over the 2014 fire that blanketed the Latrobe Valley in smoke for 45 days.
French owner Engie is facing 10 charges relating to the mine fire after a sevenday committal hearing finished up in the Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The workplace safety watchdog is prosecuting the company over the alleged breaches for failing to keep its workers and others in the community safe.
Hazelwood Power Corporation, which is owned by Engie, has now been committed to stand trial over the fire.
Magistrate Tim Walsh found the evidence to be of sufficient weight for the matter to go to trial in the County Court.
The company has indicated it will plead not guilty to the 10 charges, which include five for failing to provide a safe workplace, and five for failing to ensure the public was not exposed to risks.
A directions hearing has been set for next month in Melbourne.
The 45-day blaze covered Morwell and nearby towns in acrid smoke after the fire in February 2014.
In a statement, Engie said it intended to “vigorously defend the charges laid by WorkSafe”.