News

More black lung cases expected in Central Queensland

MORE miners are expected to be diagnosed with the potentially deadly "black lung disease", also known as coal miner's pneumoconiosis.

Professor Malcolm Sim, the expert tasked with assessing the State's black lung screening system, said the review that started last year would go over miners' past x-rays and medical records.

"The real question is what is the extent of that increase?" he said.

The CFMEU's Jason Hill said the mining union feared many more people would be diagnosed.

He said the union had up to 40 names of people concerned they or a family member might have the disease, or had died from it.

"The best treatment for it, from my understanding, is get it diagnosed early and it's sort of controllable," Mr Hill said.

"But once you go to the stage two of it, you're more or less looking at a death sentence."

Mr Hill said he believed mines had been exceeding the mandated coal dust levels for a long time and "the system" had let miners down.

Five miners have already been diagnosed with the disease.

The miners worked at some point in their careers at Oaky Creek, Grasstree or Carborough Downs mines in central Queensland and Ipswich.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said two of the miners spent most of their mining careers in the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Coal inspectors are working closely with all of Queensland's 12 operating underground coal mines, including those with coal dust issues related to longwall mining techniques," he said.

"Eight mines over the past 12 months have been directed to either improve monitoring or bring respirable dust levels back into compliance.

"Of Queensland's 12 operating underground coal mines, only one is exceeding dust limits now."

Dr Lynham and Mr Hill would not identify the mine exceeding the dust limit.

Dr Lynham said it would be inappropriate to name the mine - where workers are currently wearing respirators - because it might now comply with respirable dust levels.

Open-cut miners are also at risk, Prof Sim said.

"It really depends on the level of dust exposure and there are some high risk jobs in that part of the industry as well," he said.

But Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said most open-cut workers worked in air conditioned cabs in trucks and other equipment.

Prof Sim said there was no risk from trains carrying coal.

"This is a disease that comes on after many years of exposure to coal mine dust," he said.

Prof Sim is expected to complete an interim report on his review of the Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme by the end of March and detailed recommendations by about June.

The Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme sees miners have chest x-rays when they start work, at least every five years and when they retire.

Dr Lynham said the mines department and Queensland Health were cross-checking their current records.

"But a priority will also be to make sure this continues into the future so no cases are missed," he said.

"This will also be part of Prof Sim's review.

"Our mining safety legislation is in the very early stages of being updated and will include a focus what changes are required to ensure underground coal dust is kept at safe levels."

Dr Lynham has also written to federal resources minister Josh Frydenberg about placing the health issue on the agenda for the national council of mining ministers.

- APN NEWSDESK

Topics:  black lung, cfmeu, grasstree mine, mining




All hail the Great Destash

MARKET DAY: Nicole O'Donnell owner of The Drifter and the Gypsy and Kathryn Creed owner of Nomad Jones are looking forward to the next destatsh event.

The Great CQ Destash hailed a success

Resort worker reacts to closure

Tanya Carr and her daughter Jillian Pittman both work at the Capricorn Resort which has recently announced its closure.

Capricorn Resort employee makes social media plea for positivity

A man has died in a creek at Keppel Sands

A man was found deceased in Pumpkin Creek on the southern end of Keppel Sands. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin

Paramedics were called to the scene around 6pm

Latest deals and offers


Your Chance to Win

A Holiday to Kingfisher Bay!
Learn More

48 HOURS ACROSS THE REGION

BOOTCAMP FUNDRAISER: Gracemere woman Nicole Parlett is fundraising this weekend to trek the Kokoda Trail in September in a bid to raise funds for Beyond Blue and tackle the stigma surrounding mental health.

What's On in CQ region this weekend

Reno stars want tradies to focus a little more on one thing

The Demmrichs want Tradies to look after their most important tool

Day 2 Splendour Pictures

Sticky Fingers perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Splendour in the Grass Day 2 covered in pictures.

WATCH: News reader tries her hand at hardcore shooter, Doom

Veteran journo and noob gamer takes a shot at Doom

What's on the small screen this week

MasterChef Australia's final four contestants, from left, Harry Foster, Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic and Matt Sinclair.

MASTERCHEF makes way for The Bachelor on Ten's reality TV slate.

Guy Sebastian a hit at Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian performs at Splendour in the Grass with Paces.

REALITY TV judge a hit with festival crowd.

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Iconic Denison St building sold for close to $1M

The Swan Hotel building in Denison St.

ONE of Rockhampton’s most iconic buildings has been sold

Unique Rockhampton bar hits the market

HOT PROPERTY: Cuban themed bar Chango Chango is up for sale.

Popular Rocky bar hits the market.

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd