Investigators treat Moura mine rock fall as 'very serious'

A mine wall fell on a machine operator at a coal mine near Moura, west of Gladstone and Rockhampton, on Friday night. The mine has been shut down as investigations continue.
A mine wall fell on a machine operator at a coal mine near Moura, west of Gladstone and Rockhampton, on Friday night. The mine has been shut down as investigations continue. Contributed

SPECIALIST government mines inspectors with geotechnical and open-cut mining expertise are leading the investigation into a rock fall incident at a central Queensland coal mine at the weekend.

Chief Inspector of Coal Mines Gavin Taylor said the rock fall which occurred at the Anglo American Dawson open cut coal mine near Moura was considered very serious.

"It was fortunate no mine personnel were injured in the incident," Mr Taylor said.

"Two vehicles parked in the area of a surface highwall at the mine were damaged by falling rock.

"Queensland Government mines inspectors were notified and immediately issued a directive suspending all production and excavations at the mine while the cause of the collapse is investigated."

A senior government mines inspector began an on-site investigation on Monday.

Mr Taylor said an investigator and specialist inspectors with geotechnical and open-cut mining expertise also had been deployed. They would play a key role in establishing the causes of the highwall collapse.

"They will conduct a geotechnical examination of the highwall and ensure an effective investigation directly related to the wall failure, which is geotechnical in nature," he said.

"Their work will also help determine when excavations can safely resume in that particular area of the mine.

"Normal production and excavation operations have been allowed to resume in all other areas of the Dawson coal mine."

Mr Taylor said mine management and the site's senior safety executive were assisting government inspectors with their investigation.

Topics:  anglo american, mine safety, mining, moura, resources

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