Coal miners warned of fire safety after Yallourn breach

The Yallourn power station. Image: EnergyAustralia

Earth Resources Regulation has warned coal mine operators about fire safety ahead of the high summer danger period.

The warning comes as EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn coal mine in the Latrobe Valley of Victoria was issued with a notice to comply with its approved work plan to minimise fire risks.

Earth Resources Regulation reported that during an inspection grinding works at Yallourn were producing spark without wet coal underneath.

The regulator has urged EnergyAustralia to engage an independent expert to examine the cause of incident and to undertake staff training.

“We’re working closely with WorkSafe and the CFA (Country Fire Authority) to ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place for the Latrobe Valley coal mines ahead of the summer fire danger period,” Earth Resources Regulation executive director Anthony Hurst said.

“We will continue to conduct inspections and take enforcement action when necessary to require coal miners to fulfil their obligations to protect the valley community and environment.”

After the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire, new procedures have been in place to manage risks, according to the regulator.

The Yallourn operations mine around 18 million tonnes of brown coal a year, powering the Yallourn power station next door.