New mine safety centre

NSW Minerals Council Chairman Colin Bloomfield opened an advanced mines' rescue training facility in Wollongong.

NSW Minerals Council Chairman Colin Bloomfield opened an advanced mines’ rescue training facility in Wollongong yesterday.

The $15 million Coal Services (CSPL) southern headquarters includes a virtual reality training complex and a simulated mine. CPSL Executive Director Ron Land said the facility is the most advanced real world simulator of its kind.

“The facility provides a panoramic cinematic environment, using 12 video projectors, six computers and a massive 120 square metre circular screen that completely surrounds and immerses the audience,” he said.

“The key benefits of this virtual reality training system is that it provides accurate realistic and virtual mine simulations in a safe and controlled environment.

“Workers can achieve a high level of competence before they enter the real world environment.”

Mines Rescue, which also provides training for police, ambulance and fire fighters, relocated earlier this year from its former centre in Russell Vale, which had been home to the service for more than 80 years.

As well as mines rescue, the new complex will also house Coal Services Health, which provides medical, rehabilitation, nursing and injury prevention services for the mining industry, and Coal Mines Insurance, which provides workers compensation services to the coal industry.

Bloomfield, who is also President of Illawarra Coal, said the rescue facility provided a vital training facility and had taken a vision into the future.

He said the NSW Minerals Council, as a 50% shareholder of CSPL, was very proud of the new Woonona facility which had brought training to a new level.

“Our industry is hazardous, and it is the responsibility of every single person in the industry to work together to manage those risks, to achieve the goal of zero harm,” Bloomfield said.

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