Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani has revealed that a gas ignition event at the Grosvenor coal mine in Queensland may have started with a fall in the waste area of the site.
He told an analysts’ conference that it was likely not an operating issue “in terms of the way we would handle things on a day to day basis.”
The focus of the current investigation is to find out what ignited the gas.
According to Cutifani, Anglo American has delivered a 70 per cent improvement in its injury frequency rates in the past seven years. The company’s fatalities have also dropped by 93.5 per cent.
The chief executive acknowledged that it was not only about numbers, stating that the company was still on a journey to deliver zero incidents.
“We’re still not as good as we would like to be. And we’re still not at zero incidents. So we’ll learn. We’ll apply the lessons. And we’ll keep getting better, as we should,” he said.
Cutifani also expects the accident to trigger changes in how the industry responds to gas level issues in underground coal mines and in the use of technologies.
Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson announced last month that the company would restart the Grosvenor mine in the second half of next year.
The company is also assessing technology options to expedite Grosvenor’s automation journey.