South32 evacuates Appin coal operation to investigate gas levels

Credit: South32

South32 has again suspended operations at the Appin coal mine in New South Wales to investigate concerns about gas levels.

The BHP spin-out said its workforce was evacuated from the mine, which forms part of the Illawarra Metallurgical Coal business unit, as a precautionary measure on June 28.

However, the company confirmed there was “no gas exceedance or breach of gas limits” at the mine through an investigation.

After evacuating its workforce South32 notified the NSW mine regulator of the concerns and was then issued with a prohibition notice at Appin.

In an ASX announcement, South32 explained the regulator “expressed broader concern regarding the recent gas exceedance events and the operating practices of the Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operation.”

South32’s Dendrobium site, the second Illawarra Metallurgical Coal mine, remains in operation despite the suspension of Appin.

The company said the Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operation remains on track to reach its guidance for the 2017 financial year, having produced 7.05Mt of coal to June 28.

South32 also withdrew its workers from the Appin mine last month because of potentially hazardous gas levels.

Illawarra Metallurgical Coal is 100 per cent owned by South32 and includes coal preparation plants at West Cliff and Dendrobium.

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