Call for mines watchdog to be included in Grosvenor probe
THE LNP has called for an inquiry into last month’s Grosvenor Mine explosion to be expanded to include the role of the Queensland mines watchdog.
It follows revelations that more than a dozen safety directives or standards notices were issued over the two years prior to the May 6 underground blast, which seriously injured five workers.
The information was revealed in a public response by Mines Minister Anthony Lynham to a question asked by Scenic Rim MP Jon Krause.
From July 1 2018 to May 6 2020, the Mines Inspectorate issued three directives and 10 substandard condition or practice notices to the Anglo American-owned mine.
Two formal safety complaints were also made during this period.
A directive may be issued where an inspector considers risk is at an unacceptable level or a mine’s safety and health management system is ineffective.
In addition, an inspector may issue substandard condition or practice notices where the inspector considers improvements or changes to site practices should be made to improve safety.
The directives and standards notices issued in the two years prior to the explosion related to access control, strata control, structural integrity, plant and equipment installation and safety and electrical equipment.
They also related to gas monitoring, water quality and welding fume management.
Opposition mines spokesman Dale Last slammed the inspectorate for allowing operations to continue after the issues were raised.
“The inspectorate’s failure to monitor and regulate the operations at the Grosvenor mine are deeply concerning,” Mr Last said.
“And that is why the terms of reference for Minister’s Board of Inquiry need to be expanded to include the role of the Inspectorate.”
Dr Lynham said the Board of Inquiry already had wide-ranging powers that allowed it to investigate the inspectorate.
“Queensland has introduced the sweeping reforms to mine safety and health laws and we will continue to make worker safety a priority,” he said.
A Mines Inspectorate spokesman said it was “inappropriate” to comment on safety issues at Grosvenor while the board of inquiry was underway.
An Anglo American spokeswoman said regular visits from the inspectorate were not unusual for any mine site, and it complied with any directives given following inspections.
“We proactively learn from all incidents, and are co-operating fully with the Board of Inquiry,” she said.