A potential methane leak has forced the immediate closure of Vale’s Integra underground coal mine in the Hunter Valley.
The Department of Trade and Investment ordered workers to cease all operations until further notice while investigations get under way, after it was “made aware of unsafe methane levels”, according to The Herald.
Construction Forestry Mining and Energy union district vice president Robin Williams said he is currently seeking information from a union safety officer about the event.
Williams added that the mine had experienced problems with ventilation over the past few weeks as it moved its longwall.
“No doubt closure will have significant financial implications [for the mine] but it was already experiencing some difficulties," Williams told The Herald.
The Department is currently working with Vale, the mine’s OH&S committee and a site check inspector to “investigate and resolve allegations of health and safety issues at the mine and restore the mine to full operations”.
NSW resources minister Chris Hartcher said he has “requested a detailed report on this issue and will continue working with the department and mine operators to reach a satisfactory outcome”.
He said the government supported the closure of the mine and considered the safety of workers was paramount.
The mine is located near Singleton and produces both coking and thermal coal.
Image: Integra coal mine.