Feb 12, 2021

Board of Inquiry to resume hearings next month

Board of Inquiry to resume hearings next month

The Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry is gearing up for a second round of public hearings at the Brisbane Magistrates Court next month.

The hearings from March 9 will focus on the Grosvenor mine near Moranbah, where a blast last year seriously injured five men.

The evidence will relate to that serious accident on May 6 2020 and the 27 methane exceedances at longwalls 103 and 104 that occurred between July 1, 2019 and May 5, 2020.

Evidence relating to the continuous inertisation of goafs will also be considered during these hearings.

The Board last year requested an amendment to the legislation to give it the power to compel witnesses to provide all relevant evidence in public at the inquiry, while maintaining their right to claim privilege against self-incrimination.

In an update on its investigations this week, the Board indicated it had no news of that request being progressed.

“Consequently, the Board anticipates that, primarily, the witnesses for the hearings in March will comprise inspectors and experts,” it said in the written update.

“A hearing schedule and list of witnesses will be published on the Board’s website as soon as possible.”

The Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry was established to look into the underground explosion which injured five men at Grosvenor mine as well as various high potential incidents involving exceedances of methane limits in other longwall mines.

It published Part 1 of its report online in December after providing the material to State Resources Minister Scott Stewart on November 30.

A report highlighted the need to transform the Queensland Mines Inspectorate into ‘an employer of choice’ and for companies to better recognise the seriousness of methane exceedances.