North Goonyella fire: Peabody findings welcome, independent investigation needed

Published: 28 Mar 2019

CFMEU Mining and Energy has welcomed the findings of a Peabody investigation into the serious fire at North Goonyella mine in 2018 that has left the mine out of operation for more than six months.

Queensland District President Stephen Smyth said the company’s investigation must be backed up by an independent investigation by the Mines Department before the mine reopens.

“This was a very serious mine fire that could have ended in large-scale tragedy,” says Mr Smyth.

“The 1994 explosion at Moura shows us the consequences of combustion in underground mines. It is critical that any failures of process that led to the North Goonyella mine fire are understood, owned and shared across the industry.”

Peabody’s investigation has highlighted several critical issues including improved ventilation management.

“We support Peabody’s efforts to investigate the causes of the North Goonyella fire and prepare the mine for safe re-entry.

“Our members at North Goonyella have been undertaking a range of alternative work but are looking forward to some certainty about recommencing coal mining at the site.

“We can’t afford to take any chances with mine safety, we need a thorough, independent investigation by the regulator before the mine reopens.”

Related story: CFMEU members battle month long fire at North Goonyella