Anglo American will not restart the Grosvenor coal mine in Queensland until next year, but briefings about the future of the workforce have already started.
Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal chief executive Tyler Mitchelson said that the company was taking the time to ensure the safe restart of Grosvenor operations while assessing all technology options.
It has decided to permanently seal the part of the longwall panel where a methane ignition incident occurred in May.
According to Mitchelson, permanent sealing provides the greatest level of safety.
“Permanent sealing … will help facilitate works to prepare Grosvenor mine for a safe restart of operations, which is likely to be in the second half of 2021,” he said.
“Over the past two weeks, we have installed three temporary seals in the longwall area, which has allowed us to isolate the area of the mine where heating occurred and stabilise the environment prior to the permanent sealing work commencing.
“We are in the process of developing the detailed technical roadmap to safely restart mining next year, including a detailed risk assessment process involving internal and external experts.
“New longwall equipment will be purchased, providing us with the opportunity to assess the best available technology to further expedite our automation and technology journey at Grosvenor.”
Anglo American will work through the impacts of these changes with its workforce.
The company’s injured workers are also continuing their medical treatment on the way to recovery.
The ignition event in May injured five people, who received burns treatment at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.