Safe To Work Mon, 13 Aug 2018 23:30:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Yancoal mine suspension is lifted by NSW Resources Regulator Mon, 13 Aug 2018 05:25:19 +0000 Yancoal has received regulatory approval to recommence production at the Austar mine, after it was suspended from conducting all longwall activities on July 9.

Employees that were previously reassigned to Yancoal’s other underground operations will now be returning to Austar.

The Chinese-backed company received two prohibition notices from NSW Resources Regulator this year, following a series of coal burst incidents in February, March and May.

In February, 50 tonnes (t) of coal exploded from a longwall, leading to the hand injury and hospital treatment of one mine worker.

No mine workers were injured in the other incidents, despite a 60t material explosion from a longwall face in May.

The NSW Resources Regulator urged the company to undertake a detailed geotechnical assessment until the regulator was assured mine workers were protected from further incidents. Until then, the regulator would suspend all longwall activities at Austar.

In July, Yancoal submitted an appeal for an external merits review to resume its Austar operation to the Industrial Relations Commission.

Yancoal Australia chief executive Reinhold Schmidt said at the time, “Until all legal avenues have been exhausted and we can re-enter the mine to move the longwall, we are unable to continue proposed longwall activity.”

In 2017, Yancoal produced 2Mt of coal at the Austar mine, including 1.9Mt of saleable output.

The Austar mine is wholly owned by Yancoal and employs 205 people.

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All workers safe after fire at WA gold-copper mine Mon, 13 Aug 2018 01:40:08 +0000 A fire took place at Doray Minerals’ gold-copper mine around 50km south of Yalgoo in Western Australia last week. The fire started at a remotely controlled loader underground.

The company said all workers were safe and uninjured.

At the time of the incident, 11 underground workers went to their closest emergency refuge chamber in line with the company’s standard safety procedure. They were later escorted out of the mine by the site’s emergency response team.

During the company’s investigation into the extent of the fire, Doray halted all underground operations at the mine.

Doray Minerals managing director Leigh Junk said, “As unwelcome as Wednesday’s incident was, the safe and orderly resolution demonstrates the high quality of Deflector’s emergency response capabilities and Doray’s entrenched safety culture.”

After a safety inspection has been thoroughly conducted to confirm that a re-entry was safe, the mine began to resume its operation last Friday.

Junk said, “Our first priority will always be the safety of our people. The decision to resume mining was only taken because the workplace has been confirmed safe.”

He said the two-day interruption to underground mining would not affect Deflector’s production guidance. This is because the mine continued to process stockpiled ore during the period.

“This is a very pleasing recovery following Wednesday’s fire incident,” Junk said.

Doray is continuing its investigation into the cause of the fire.

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Glencore receives recognition for safety and environment initiatives Mon, 13 Aug 2018 01:36:27 +0000 Glencore’s Ravensworth open cut operation has been recognised for its safety initiatives in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

The team conducted a project that successfully monitored gas levels in blast plumes, which was a first in the industry.

They pioneered the use of a gas monitor that is mounted on a drone to fly through blast plumes. This aims to track the level and rates of gas dissipation, particularly nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Glencore’s Greater Ravensworth coal mines general manager Steve Hubert said, “The monitoring will provide the industry, our regulators and our communities with greater assurance of our blast management process.

“Importantly, the monitoring has also shown that no NO2 has left the site in more than 50 blasts that have been monitored to date.”

The team was also recognised for an engineered solution to remove crusher teeth at its coal preparation plant.

It developed a technique that employs hydraulic power to dismantle equipment, saving maintenance workers from performing the onerous task using sledgehammers.

Hubert said, “This is an initiative that will improve health and safety of employees, not only across Glencore’s operations, but others in the coal business as well as many other industries where this crushing equipment is in use.”

Operations manager Tony Morris stated on the Ravensworth website, “A key focus for Glencore has always been ensuring the safety of the workforce. We continue to investigate and implement new safety systems and controls to minimise the risk to employees.”

The Ravensworth open cut mine is a joint venture between Glencore (90 per cent interest) and the Australian subsidiary of Japan’s ITOCHU Corporation (10 per cent).

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Aboriginal Health Council commits funds to mental health training Mon, 13 Aug 2018 01:33:36 +0000 Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) has allocated $1 million of funding to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal communities.

Communities that are set to receive mental health training by the end of 2019 include the mining regions of the Pilbara, Kalgoorlie and Kimberley.

In 2016, the death by suicide rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians was more than three and a half times the rate of non-indigenous Australians.

It is a major cause of early death among Aboriginal people.

At Rio Tinto, more than 12 per cent of its workforce in the Pilbara are indigenous.

BHP also employs 654 Aboriginal and Torres Islanders in the Pilbara, which represents 72 per cent of its 907 national indigenous workforce.

Mental Health Minister Roger Cook said, “As the first program of its kind in Western Australia, I am proud to be part of a state government that supports initiatives to help Aboriginal individuals, families and community organisations improve their health and wellbeing.

“I look forward to seeing this program continue to progress as we work toward increasing the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people across Western Australia.”

Education will be brought by Aboriginal Medical Services, Aboriginal workers and community members in the Central Desert region. They are currently being trained by the AHCWA.

The training helps to identify contributing factors that impact on family wellbeing and strategies to overcome social and emotional challenges.

Cook said, “Delivering programs like this locally is important because it is those who are on the ground that understand the issues facing their communities best, and can provide input into how to best address those particular issues.”

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Hexagon Mining acquires Guardvant, ‘solidifies’ its leadership in fatigue solutions Mon, 06 Aug 2018 23:52:33 +0000 Hexagon’s Mining division has acquired Guardvant, an Arizona-based safety technology provider for the mining industry, for an undisclosed amount.

With offices in Perth and Queensland, Hexagon’s Mining division equips more than 30,000 mining vehicles worldwide with its collision avoidance system.

It is integrated with Hexagon’s solution for fleet management, personal protection, vehicle intervention and fatigue monitoring and tracking radar.

On the other hand, Guardvant equips almost 5000 mining vehicles and monitors more than 20 million road hours to date.

It provides mining vehicles with a range of safety technology such as OpGuard, which features an infrared camera that continuously monitors the operator for eyelid closure, facial and head movements and other unsafe behaviour such as cell phone use.

According to Hexagon’s Mining division president Josh Weiss, demand for safety solutions is growing faster than any other area of mining technology.

Guardvant’s advanced expertise in detecting operator fatigue and distraction responds to that demand and helps solidify Hexagon’s leading role in mine safety solutions.

“Guardvant is a recognised force in fatigue monitoring technology and was the first to market as an Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) independent in that field,” Weiss said.

“The acquisition solidifies Hexagon’s position as the leader in mine safety and enhances our integrated life-of-mine portfolio.”

Hexagon has around 18,000 employees in 50 countries and net sales of around €3.5 billion.

Guardvant chief executive Sergio Blacutt said, “Hexagon shares our commitment to safety and is in the unique position of delivering life-of-mine solutions across a broad technology portfolio.

“We are looking forward to being part of a team that is changing the game for the mining industry.”

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