The Moranbah Miners Memorial
The Moranbah Miners Memorial Zizi Averill

Call to fast track mining industrial manslaughter laws

UPDATE 10.40AM:  A MINERS' union has called on the Queensland Government to fast-track new laws extending industrial manslaughter to the state's mining industry. 

It comes in the wake of last week's horror explosion at Grosvenor Mine.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth has written to Mines Minister Anthony Lynham today calling for the Mineral and Energy Resources and other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 to be brought forward.

The new legislation would create a criminal offence where negligence contributes to the death of a mineworker; and bring mining into line with other industries where individual executives and managers face jail time.

It also makes it a requirement that any statutory safety positions such as Underground Deputy must be directly employed by the mine operator rather than employed as contractors, to focus on safety rather than production. 

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Mr Smyth said the laws were overdue and should be urgently passed to further protect the state's mineworkers.

"The Queensland Government has made a commitment to introducing these new laws and we can't afford to wait any longer," he said.

"Queensland mineworkers deserve to have the strongest possible safety laws and regulations." 

Mr Smyth has welcomed the announcement of the Board of Inquiry into the tragedy.

He said it must be properly resourced and tasked with examining not only the immediate cause of the events at Grosvenor, but also the underlying causes.

An aerial image of Anglo American's Grosvenor Mine. Picture: Daryl Wright
An aerial image of Anglo American's Grosvenor Mine. Picture: Daryl Wright Picture: Daryl Wright

UPDATE TUESDAY 6PM: Five miners remain in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital almost a week on from the Moranbah explosion disaster.

The four injured men - two 51 year olds and two aged 43 and 45 - were still in a critical condition late Tuesday.

A fifth man, a 44 year old, was in a stable condition.

One is a Moranbah resident and the others are from southeast Queensland.

A Lifeline Community Recovery team has set up at the Moranbah Community Centre in response to the tragedy.

Counsellors will be on hand for anyone wanting to talk. 

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said the mental health support was a great step.  

"As a region, we continue to face our share of tragedy and adversity, and when disaster strikes, it is ok to ask for help," Cr Baker said.

The Lifeline Community Recovery Support Centre is open from 8am to 5pm every day.  

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker.
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker. DAMIEN CARTY

EARLIER, MONDAY: ANGLO American has defended its decision to send some of its Grosvenor Mine employees back to work just five days after a horrific underground explosion at the site.

A miners' union has slammed the decision, labelling it "premature" after five workers were seriously injured at the mine last week.

Anglo American metallurgical coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson said mining would not restart until the cause of the incident was determined.

"As part of our staged re-entry, (on Tuesday) some of our workforce will start work in other areas of the mine complex, where the work is essential for the ongoing safety and integrity of the mine while the investigations proceed," Mr Mitchelson said.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth said it was too soon

to send any workers back.

"It's clearly premature," Mr Smyth said. "Some of the miners are really emotionally struggling."

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth. Picture: Daryl Wright
CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth. Picture: Daryl Wright

The four injured men - two 51 year olds and two aged 43 and 45 - were still in a critical condition as of late Monday.

A fifth man, a 44 year old, was in a stable condition.

One is a Moranbah resident and the others are from southeast Queensland.

All of the men were longwall production operators.

In its first public statement since the incident occurred, One Key Resources today confirmed all five men were labour hire workers for the company.

Managing director Glenn Triggs said all One Key employees were "deeply shocked and saddened" by what happened at the mine.

"Since the incident we have been assisting the families where we can and have put in place access to counselling for our employees and their immediate families at Grosvenor mine," Mr Triggs said.

"Our thoughts are very much with our five injured colleagues, their families and all our One Key employees.

"This is having a terrible impact on the families, and we would like the families to know they are in the thoughts of everyone in the company."


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