MELBOURNE (Reuters) – An explosion halted production on Wednesday at a coal mine run by Anglo American in Australia’s northeastern state of Queensland, injuring five people just months after a review of the industry called for better regulation.
The incident is the company’s second in 15 months in the area, after a miner died and four were injured at an adjoining complex in February last year in an underground accident that halted operations for four days.
“The mine is in the process of being evacuated and operations stopped,” Anglo American said, adding that those injured at its Grosvenor metallurgical coal mine in the central Bowen Basin had been taken to hospital, and their families told.
“All remaining on site personnel have been accounted for,” it said in its statement.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) said the patients were in critical condition after suffering burns to their upper bodies and airways following the blast.
A representative of the Queensland Mines Inspectorate confirmed its inspectors were on site and had begun an investigation into the incident.
Grosvenor produced 4.7 million tonnes of metallurgical or steel-making coal in 2019.
Last year the state commissioned an industry review after six deaths at mining sites over the year to July 2019, and passed legislation for an independent health and safety regulator, expected to be set up by the second half of 2020.
The Brady Review examined the causes of 47 deaths in the state’s mining industry from 2000 to 2019.
(Reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Additional reporting by Zandi Shabalala in London; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Clarence Fernandez)