Mine cleared after explosion

Mine cleared after explosion

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) state vice-president Stuart Vaccaneo said the spontaneous combustion happened on Wednesday in a worked out area of the Cook Colliery, 20km south of Blackwater.

Mr Vaccaneo said about 30 people normally worked at the mine, with about nine in each shift, but no one had entered since monitoring equipment detected the threat of an explosion.

“There is still the potential for that to happen and that’s why men have been withdrawn,” Mr Vaccaneo said today.

An exclusion zone had been established on the surface to prevent workers entering areas which could be affected by a blast, he said.

Mines Inspectorate and Workplace Health and Safety inspectors would also have to declare the area safe before work could start again.

The colliery’s operating company, Cook Resource Mining Pty Ltd (CRM), is 95 per cent owned by mining giant Xstrata and 5 per cent by Tokyo Boeki.

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