Dec 18, 2020

Anglo active in addressing mine safety concerns

Anglo active in addressing mine safety concerns

Anglo American says it is continuing to respond to the Grosvenor mine gas incident, which left five men injured, including through investing in the acceleration of technology to improve safety in underground mining.

The Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry established to look into the May 6 underground explosion published Part 1 of its report online this week (available HERE).

Anglo American metallurgical coal business chief executive officer Tyler Mitchelson said the company had looked at every aspect of the management of risk in its underground mines in the past six months.

It had commenced a range of work to accelerate technology solutions, particularly automation and remote operation, he said.

“Removing people from potential harm offers the greatest opportunity to materially improve safety in underground coal mining,” Mr Mitchelson said.

“As the largest underground metallurgical coal miner in Australia, we will continue to leverage our scale to find new ways of addressing safety risks, drawing on international best practice and technology development.

“We have proactively responded to learnings from the Grosvenor incident and the Board of Inquiry and have a significant body of work underway across our underground mines.

“We will give full consideration to the Board’s report and continue to ensure that relevant learnings are captured and actioned within our business, which will ensure our systems and process extend beyond current industry best-practice.

“Gas management is a significant and important part of our business. We have allocated $1.5 billion for gas management over five years across our underground mines, and will harness advancements in data analytics to optimise our approach.

“We are committed to working with industry to ensure Queensland’s mining industry is safe, sustainable and productive and will continue to cooperate fully and transparently with the Board of Inquiry.”

Work underway includes:

  • Partnering with CSIRO to commence a world-first trial of technology to support automation in the roadway development phase of underground coal mining.
  • Commencing a pilot study at Moranbah North to assess the use of pressure sensors to remove power from the longwall face as an additional control if a significant overpressure event occurs.
  • Bolstering plans for remote operation in underground mines. The purchase of new longwall equipment at Grosvenor mine will include an assessment of the best available technology to further expedite automation.
  • Establishing a new data analytics centre in Anglo American’s Brisbane office.
  • Continuing to improve the company’s approach to critical controls through implementation of technology and data analysis to optimise the effectiveness of the controls.
  • Allocating $1.5 billion for gas management over five years across underground mines in the Bowen Basin.
  • A review of the existing bonus structures at Anglo American sites with input from the workforce.
  • An enhanced Learning From Incidents (LFI) process to ensure relevant learning opportunities from all incidents are automatically distributed across mine sites and are accessible to the workforce.
  • To support an alignment of Queensland statutory reporting terminology, Anglo American has made the decision that any gas exceedance of more than 2.5 per cent in its underground mines will be treated as a High Potential Incident in accordance with the company’s global risk management processes.