Tahmoor mine to remain closed indefinitely amid safety concerns

Tahmoor Coking Coal mine will remain closed until further notice amid safety concerns after two miners became trapped last week.

The workers were stuck 160 metres underground following the mechanical failure of a lift at the SIMEC Mining facility last Wednesday.

The pair were rescued after eight hours.

A SIMEC Mining spokesman today confirmed the facility had remained closed since the incident and no reopening date was set.

Colliery staff will be redeployed into community projects around Wollondilly.

“SIMEC is giving workers the option of taking annual leave or assisting with a number of projects to help improve local amenities,” the spokesman said.

“We have contacted a number of community groups – including NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services and Wollondilly Shire Council – to garner suitable ideas on how our staff could best assist on identified projects at no cost to the community.

“A perfect example is the Thirlmere Lakes picnic grounds and fencing improvements project, with Tahmoor employees and contractors providing labour for the project. 

The moment two miners are brought safely to the surface after spending several hours trapped underground at Tahmoor. Source: Fire and Rescue NSW

“Other projects include maintenance of the park roads through filling potholes and painting of fences at the Bargo sports ground.”

The spokesman said the initiative would not only benefit Wollondilly but also ensure employees had continual work while investigations continued.

”SIMEC continues to work closely with the relevant authorities to investigate the breakdown and determine the safest method of resuming operations,” he said.

CFMEU Construction and General NSW – which represents Tahmoor miners -  has applauded the decision to redeploy workers into the community.

CFMEU south western district vice president mining and energy, Bob Timbs said the decision was a “win-win” for everyone involved.

“It’s not often the union sees eye to eye with companies and bosses,” he said.

“SIMEC has done the right thing to keep their workers employed.

“We have to give credit where credit is due.”

More than 400 people work at the mine.

The two trapped miners, aged 54 and 37, were not injured during the ordeal.

They emerged from the Tahmoor No. 3 shaft shortly before midnight. They were able to go home after passing all medical checks.