Coal jobs in danger as min­ers ac­cused on dust

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JES­SICA MARSZALEK TREN­TON AKERS

FOUR Queens­land coal mines face closure and hun­dreds of jobs are at risk af­ter two com­pa­nies were ac­cused of flout­ing dust limit laws.

In Par­lia­ment last night, Glen­core’s Oaky North and Oaky No. 1 and An­glo’s Mo­ran­bah North and Grosvenor mines were ac­cused of fail­ing to prop­erly mon­i­tor dust.

Mines Min­is­ter An­thony Lyn­ham used Par­lia­men­tary priv­i­lege in a rare move to name the multi­na­tional com­pa­nies in what are the first al­leged breaches un­der a new, tougher regime in­tro­duced to deal with the re- emer­gence of the deadly black lung dis­ease.

Dr Lyn­ham said the Mines In­spec­torate had as­sured him that “de­ci­sive ac­tion is un­der way”.

“I am ad­vised that in­spec- tors are is­su­ing di­rec­tives to the four mines,” he said.

“Any fail­ure to meet dust mon­i­tor­ing obli­ga­tions is, in my opin­ion, a demon­stra­tion that there is a se­ri­ous is­sue with the safety and health man­age­ment sys­tems at these mines.

“Un­der the Act, the in­spec­tors can re­quire a full and in­de­pen­dent au­dit of the mine’s safety and health man­age­ment sys­tem in­struc­tions, or prose- cute or close the mine.” Dr Lyn­ham said the se­ri­ous­ness of the al­le­ga­tions against each of the mines var­ied but any fail­ure to meet health and safety obli­ga­tions was un­ac­cept­able.

The ac­tion comes amid a par­lia­men­tary in­quiry into black lung that found “cat­a­strophic fail­ings” of pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion over 30 years had led to at least 23 min­ers di­ag­nosed and many more likely to be.

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