Anglo American is set to brief its workers on a return to the Moranbah North coal mine in Queensland after completing an investigation into the site’s coal heating incident.
According to Anglo American metallurgical coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson, no ignition occurred at the Moranbah North incident which led to a site shutdown and worker evacuation last month.
“Based on our review of the evidence, we do not believe an ignition has occurred, and the most likely cause of the incident was coal heating and a large goaf fall behind the longwall face,” Mitchelson said.
“This was a completely different incident to the methane ignition at Grosvenor mine on May 6 2020.”
Anglo American’s internal investigation found that the methane levels on the longwall at Moranbah North were within regulatory levels.
“Our Moranbah North team immediately took a number of steps to manage the incident, and goaf conditions normalised shortly after the incident occurred,” Mitchelson said.
“Expert technical advice is informing our risk assessment process, which is currently under way with a cross-section of the workforce, and includes a review of measures to prevent a reoccurrence.”
The company has been actively seeking new methods to improve its controls since last year’s Grosvenor mine incident in Queensland.
“Ultimately our processes worked to keep people safe, but we are always striving to find solutions to detect and address issues before they arise,” Mitchelson said.
“We are currently using proven industry methods to manage spontaneous combustion risk in our mines, and will continue to seek out and assess other methods that may provide a higher level of control.”
Anglo American employs more than 600 people at Moranbah North, where the company holds a stake of 88 per cent.