Tritton truck fire put down to hot engine components

The New South Wales Resources Regulator has determined the most likely cause of a haul truck fire at the Tritton copper mine in 2018.

This was pointed to diesel fuel escaping the fuel system and contacting hot components of the engine.

The regulator could not determine the exact cause of the fire due to the extensive damage of the truck, but it identified a hole in the truck’s exhaust system.

The Regulator presumed that the operator was likely to have overfilled the truck’s fuel tank and that its cooler fan hydraulic did not meet the required pressure rating.

Key maintenance workers were also found untrained in the mine operator’s defect management plan and the truck operator was not instructed about the dangers of overfilling the fuel tank.

Before the incident occurred, the mine operator had identified issues with the mine’s maintenance management systems and engaged a consultant to examine these systems and report on any deficiencies and improvements that should be implemented.

The report was in its initial stages of being finalised at the time of the incident.

The deficiencies included defect management training, spare parts management, lack of supervision and absence of assessment protocols for faults that could cause fires or other accidents.

The fire occurred on June 23 2018 about 900 metres underground in the Tritton mine’s main decline.

As a result, 19 workers were moved to refuge chambers in the lower sections of the mine.

Communications and external air supply to the refuge chambers were, however, lost as a result of the fire.

The mine’s emergency management system was activated, and responders extinguished the truck fire at 10.48pm that night.

All workers were evacuated from the refuge chambers at on June 24 2018, with no workers suffering permanent injuries as a result of the incident.