Coal mine reopened

The New Zealand Department of Labour has allowed the closed Spring Creek coal mine to reopen.

Earlier in the week the Department forced Solid Energy to halt operations as the mine due to safety concerns.

According to the acting chief inspector of mines, Gavin Taylor, over the past three weeks a diesel generator caught fire and spewed high concentrations of carbon monoxide throughout the underground mine; one of the main fans tripped with no alert to management for more than an hour; and a underground auxiliary fan tripped over two consecutive days but did not stop operations.

"Members of my team met Solid Energy and they determined the events represented failures in management processes," Taylor stated.

"The inspectors were very concerned that the issues had not been fully investigated, yet production had continued.

Following a brief investigation the Department has lifted the prohibition notice.

Taylor stated that the mine had provided the information required on the underground safety failures, reports.

"We are confident that the company has appropriately addressed the immediate concerns and is moving to address the potential risks that we had identified," he said.

"On that basis, we have lifted the prohibition notice placed on Spring Creek."

A team from the High Hazards Unit will audit the mine’s safety systems and check its corrective actions.

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