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Mine banned from producing coal due to ‘ongoing safety’ woes

Russell Vale coal mine
Russell Vale coal mine

A fossil fuel operation has been ordered to pause work following occupational health concerns.

Authorities recently banned Wollongong Resources from extracting coal from its Russell Vale mine.

Investigators resorted to the measure after finding workplace conditions were still substandard.

“[The New South Wales Resources] Regulator has now issued a prohibition notice to the operator of Russell Vale coal mine, prohibiting the mining of coal at the site due to ongoing safety concerns,” a spokesperson said.

“The prohibition notice will remain in place until the regulator is satisfied appropriate safety measures have been carried out at the site. The regulator’s main priority is the safety of workers.”

The remarks came more than eight months after underground employees accidentally exposed a borehole on 27 May 2023. Methane gas became released and ignited when rocky material came in contact with picks on the continuous miner’s cutting drum.

“A large flame spread from the left side across the width of the heading, over the continuous miner and towards the workers,” the investigation information release said.

“After the initial burst of flame a fire along the roof continued to burn. The continuous miner operator cut power to the continuous miner. He released the continuous miner’s water supply hose and applied water from it onto the flame. The flame was extinguished after about 30 seconds.”

No workers were reported to be physically injured and the proponent has already worked “closely” with the regulator. Compliance and enforcement activities at the mine have “significantly increased” since.

Click here to read the full investigation information release.

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