Mine rescuers attempt to re-open Xstrata’s Blakefield South mine

Mine Rescue Services are attempting to re-open Xstrata’s Blakefield South coal mine following an underground fire in early January.

According to mining officials, the blaze was originally caused by underground methane at longwall.

Production ceased completely at the $350 million mine, with Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union district vice president, Greg Sharp saying that there were about 50 men underground when the fire started who were “incredibly lucky to get out as they did.”

Mine Rescue Services (MRS), a division of Coal Services, have been involved in the recovery process, which involved reintroducing oxygen into oxygen back into the mine.

MRS general manager Paul Healy told the ABC that several attempts have so far been unsuccessful.

"The recovery has been set back after an initial attempt to reventilate about a week and a half ago.

"At this stage the mine has been re-sealed and we’re conducting trials with different sealing materials and we expect that to recommence this week and things should go very well."

The Blakefield South Mine is an underground longwall mine designed to replace the production from Xstrata’s Beltana mine.

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