Future of Integra in doubt

SENIOR Vale management officials are meeting with union representatives today to discuss safety and the future of the troubled Integra mine in New South Wales amid speculation that the company will close or sell the mine.
Future of Integra in doubt Future of Integra in doubt Future of Integra in doubt Future of Integra in doubt Future of Integra in doubt

Integra Underground, courtesy Vale.

Lou Caruana

A spokesperson for Vale confirmed to ILN that meetings with unions are taking place today but described them as “routine” and said the meetings were set up to discuss the future of the mine in 2012.

NSW Department of Trade and Investment had ordered the mine to review its safety regime after two serious lost time injuries occurred at the mine in which two miners are believed to have broken limbs.

“NSW Trade and Investment issued specific notices of advice and improvement but did not require the mine to cease operations,” the spokesperson confirmed to ILN.

“There were two injuries early January.”

Integra was controversially closed last year when the NSW Minister for Resources Chris Hartcher ordered the temporary closure of the Integra longwall coal mine to eliminate any danger to mine workers following concerns related to elevated methane levels.

Hartcher requested a detailed report on this issue and maintained a dialogue with the Department of Trade and Investment and mine operators before lifting the suspension in August.

Vale is currently reviewing submissions to its application to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure to modify its underground and open cut operations at Integra.

Integra is seeking approval from the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure to modify the project approvals under Section 75W of the EP&A Act.

The proposed modifications would entail an extension of the north open cut out-of-pit dump to the east and south; increasing the maximum height of the NOC emplacements from 135m AHD to 141m AHD; and relocation of the existing NOC crib hut site.

It is also applying for an extension of the timeframe stipulated in Condition 48, which requires the installation and operation of an overland conveyor from the underground surface facilities to the Camberwell coal handling and preparation plan.

It is also seeking an extension of the timeframes stipulated in Conditions 42 and 43, which relate to the revision of Integra’s biodiversity offset strategy and to the long-term security of biodiversity offset areas identified in the strategy.

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