South32’s Appin colliery to remain suspended

South32 has confirmed underground operations at its Appin colliery will remain suspended after repeated concerns over gas levels.

Workers were evacuated at the Appin Colliery, which forms part of South32’s Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operation, on June 28 as a precautionary measure following gas concerns.

The company confirmed there was “no gas exceedance or breach of gas limits” at the mine after an investigation.

After the evacuation, however, South32 notified the NSW mine regulator of the gas concerns and was later issued a prohibition notice at Appin.

At the time, the company said the regulator “expressed broader concern regarding the recent gas exceedance events and the operating practices of the Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operation”.

This related to another worker evacuation at the site in May after the company recorded elevated gas levels.

South32 said it is now conducting a review of the operations systems and operating practices to ensure its ongoing safety.

“Given the scope of this review, an extended outage is now anticipated before production at Illawarra Metallurgical Coal can be restored to historic levels,” South32 said.

The company’s Dendrobium mine, the second Illawarra Metallurgical Coal mine, will continue operations.

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