Workers at South32’s Appin mine have been evacuated again over gas problems, prompting the regulator to express concern about operating practices there.
South32’s colliery has been slapped with another prohibition notice after the gas incident, which has been described by the company as “an issue with the gas extraction system”.
Gas has been an ongoing problem for South32 at Appin, with methane buildups causing operations to be shut down in May, as well as in October last year.
The latest incident was reported to the regulator about 7am on Thursday, with South32 saying there were “no elevated gas levels”.
But the Resources Regulator has said spoken out clearly, saying “ongoing safety and compliance concerns” meant that the colliery was the “subject of a targeted regulatory intervention”.
No re-entry to the mine can occur until the Resources Regulator is satisfied South32 has implemented revised control measures to ensure worker safety.
The company told the Australian Securities Exchange that that operations had been suspended once again that day “as a precautionary measure”.
“We subsequently confirmed that there was no gas exceedance or breach of gas limits,” the South32 ASX statement said.
“The regulator then issued a prohibition notice and expressed broader concern regarding the recent gas exceedance events and the operating practices of the Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operation.”
A spokesman for the Resources Regulator said the incident related to “gas drainage plant failures” and “workers were withdrawn from underground in accordance with their ‘trigger action response plan’”.
“The prohibition notice will remain in place until mine safety inspectors are provided the procedures and conditions under which any re-entry will occur ... and are satisfied additional and appropriate risk controls have been put into place to ensure workers at the mine are not exposed to risk,” he said.