Anglo American Moranbah North mine. Picture Tara Miko
Anglo American Moranbah North mine. Picture Tara Miko

Moranbah North mine in limbo after evacuation

The cause of elevated gas levels which sparked an evacuation at a Central Queensland mine remains unknown, the mining regulator says.

A potential spontaneous heating event in a longwall panel raised the alarm at Anglo American’s Moranbah North Mine overnight Saturday.

In an update issued late Thursday, a Resources Safety and Health Queensland spokeswoman said it was continuing to monitor the situation at the mine.

“A mines inspector has attended site and discussed with the mine’s management its progress on identifying the cause of the elevated gas levels experienced at the weekend,” the spokeswoman said.

“The suspension of operations remains in place at this time as the mine’s investigations continue.”

Anglo American was contacted for comment.

It is understood workers will continue to be paid while operations remain halted.

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate issued a directive to the mine operator suspending all operations underground until the site senior executive could demonstrate the risk was at an acceptable level for coal mine workers to return underground.

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In a statement on Monday, an Anglo spokeswoman said internal and external experts were assessing various information sources to more accurately determine the cause of the event.

“At the time of the incident, we had been mining through some particularly challenging geology and every precaution was being taken,” she said.

“The conclusions from the expert review of the incident will inform a comprehensive risk assessment prior to re-entry, which will require regulatory approval.”

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