Queensland inquiry board to investigate methane exceedances

The Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry will commence public hearings next month after being set up following Anglo American’s gas ignition event at the Grosvenor coal mine.

The first set of the hearings would not focus on the Grosvenor accident as there were still investigations under way.

They will instead investigate the Queensland Mines Inspectorate, industry safety and mine management, according to the board’s chairman Terry Martin.

The board was established on May 22 following the accident that occurred at Grosvenor on May 6 and other high potential incidents involving longwall-related exceedances of methane in the state’s coal mining industry since mid-2019.

The board will commence public hearings starting August 4 at the Brisbane Magistrates Court, with hearings also live-streamed on its website.

“Investigations into all of these matters (at the Grosvenor mine) continue but more needs to be done before witnesses are called at public hearings,” Martin said.

“These public hearings in August will concern the role of the inspectorate, the role of the industry and site safety and health representatives, how the management structure and employment arrangements of the mining companies may impact on mine safety, as well as the methane exceedances at Grasstree, Moranbah North and Oaky North mines.”

He added that while members of the public could watch the hearings through live streams, or attend in person, the inquiry was also looking at ways to include regional people.

“We understand the importance of this inquiry to regional Queensland mining communities and we are investigating additional viewing facilities in regional locations,” he said.