Open pit high-wall collapses, closes public road

An open-pit mine wall collapse at Yancoal’s Moolarben coal mine has left a public road closed for a month.

The Ulan-Wollar Road was closed on Saturday 6 June after a coal mine highwall — just metres from the public roadway — collapsed into the mine pit.

The Mudgee Guardian reports the Mid-Western Regional Council closed a section of the road until a geotech report was conducted.

However local residents are frustrated that after nearly four weeks, the road remains closed.

“The road has been closed coming up to a month now and neither the mine nor the Mid-Western Regional Council are telling us what is going on,” said Wollar local resident Mick Fetch.

“The public road is now very close to the mine pit, and I can’t see how it can be reopened. It remains a serious matter for public safety and the community wants answers.”

Fetch said all the traffic of the Wilpinjong Mine workers and contractors has been diverted through the small town of Wollar.

A spokesman for Moolarben said no mining activities were being conducted in the area at the time of the accident and no one was injured.

“The highwall collapsed into an area of the Moolarben Coal open cut pit, not onto the road," the spokesman said.

“Local authorities, the Council and appropriate legislative and reporting bodies, including the NSW inspectorate, were informed of the incident in accordance with our reporting requirements.

“The road was closed by Council in the interests of allowing the relevant authorities and mine personnel to access the area and conduct the necessary geotechnical and safety studies and remedial works.

“Council has commenced the construction of a temporary bypass at Moolarben’s expense in order to facilitate the early re-opening of the road.

The cause of the incident is still unknown. 

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