Coal jobs in danger as miners accused on dust
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.