Miner cops $11 000 fine for smoking underground

A miner has been fined $11,000 after he was charged with smoking underground at the North Goonyella coal mine near Moranbah in Queensland on April 27 last year.

The Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Friday found Travis Brown, 24, guilty on two counts brought by Queensland Government Mines Inspectors under Section 34 of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999, the Daily Mercury reported.

The former Bowen basin mine worker was ordered to pay costs of $10,841.70. No conviction was recorded.

A Department of Natural Resources and Mines spokesman said the result reinforced the importance of workplace health and safety.

"We have tough laws in place to minimise the potential risk of injury or death to workers and ensure the highest standards of safety," he said.

"Underground coal mines are difficult working environments.

"The presence of combustible gases and coal dust means there is a potential for fire or explosion if strict safety procedures are not followed to the letter.

"This person, through his actions, was not only endangering himself but the lives of his fellow mine workers."

Australian Mining reported that Brown who was a contractor Peabody Energy at the time was sacked after co-workers smelt smoke and he was found with cigarettes and a lighter.

Earlier this year another coal miner in the US was charged with smoking in an underground mine.

Donald Adams, 51, was also charged with reckless endangerment for the incident that prosecutors say occurred on August 23, 2012.

There were 117 miners working at the mine at the time.

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