Anglo American's Grosvenor Mine.
Anglo American's Grosvenor Mine.

Moranbah man among five miners injured in horror explosion

UPDATE 5.30PM: A MORANBAH man is among the five workers injured in the Grosvenor Mine explosion, the Daily Mercury can confirm.

The other four men are understood to be from southeast Queensland - two from the Sunshine Coast and two from the Brisbane area.

The men - two 51 year olds, and two aged 43 and 45 - were clinging to life in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital this afternoon, with critical burns covering their torsos. 

The fifth injured worker, aged 44, is in a "good condition".  

In a statement this afternoon, an Anglo American spokeswoman said the company was continuing to provide support to the families.  

Anglo American's metallurgical coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson said the Grosvenor recovery team was working through the risk assessment and planning for safe re-entry of the mine, before the investigation could start.

"When it's safe, we first need to reconnect power underground to be able to recommence the pumping of excess water from the mine," Mr Mitchelson said. 

"Our focus right now is supporting our injured colleagues and their families, and the work required to commence the investigation. 

"We will not resume mining until we are satisfied that we know exactly what happened and how we can avoid it happening again."

The company advised its coal mine workers rostered to work this week that they could return home on full pay.  

Only those essential to the recovery work remain on site.

"I want to acknowledge the outpouring of support from the close-knit mining community during this terrible time," Mr Mitchelson said. 

UPDATE 2.30PM: ​THE Queensland Resources Council has thrown its support behind calls for an industry-wide investigation in the wake of the Grosvenor Mine tragedy.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said any examination of the mine explosion would offer a clearer understanding of what happened and if any additional measures were needed in Queensland mines.

"The (Mines) minister has discussed the option of a board of inquiry with me.  I understand this inquiry would be in addition to the mines inspectorate investigation already under way," Mr Macfarlane said.

"QRC will cooperate fully with all and any inquiries. 

"Our immediate thoughts are with the five mine workers, their families and workmates, and we send our thanks to first responders and health workers who have assisted those critically injured workers." 

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane speaks to media about the organisations economic contribution report, Friday, November 24, 2017.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane speaks to media about the organisations economic contribution report, Friday, November 24, 2017. Kevin Farmer

 

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham yesterday sought advice on whether a board of inquiry could be launched after this week's incident at Anglo American's Grosvenor Mine. 

Dr Lynham said mines inspectors were already conducting an investigation into the tragedy; however an inquiry would look at broader issues around sparking, ignition or fire across the industry.

"If there's a broader safety issue here that we can identify and act on now, that's what this government will do," he said.

INITIAL 10.45AM: FOUR of the five miners who suffered critical burns in the horrific Grosvenor Mine explosion are still fighting for their lives this morning in Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

The men - two 51 year olds, and two aged 43 and 45 - were last night on ventilators in the hospital, clinging to life, with burns covering their torsos. 

A hospital spokeswoman said the men remained in a critical condition this morning.

In an encouraging sign, the fifth injured worker, aged 44, is in a "good condition".

Workmates of the five men have rallied for their comrades, raising more than $50,000 to support their families.

The entry to Grosvenor Mine, near Moranbah. Picture: Daryl Wright
The entry to Grosvenor Mine, near Moranbah. Picture: Daryl Wright

The B crew longwall team at the Anglo American mine started an online fundraiser when members of the A crew suffered horrific injuries in the explosion.

They were initially taken to Moranbah Hospital where a heroic nursing team, led by Proserpine's Dr Deborah Simmons, treated the men for three hours before they were taken to Brisbane.