Fatality and one serious injury after Crinum roof fall

A ROOF fall in the conveyor drift of Sojitz Blue’s Crinum mine in Queensland has led to the death of a 60-year-old Mastermyne contractor and serious injuries to his 20-year-old colleague.

 Queensland resources minister Scott Stewart said the causes would be thoroughly investigated.

Queensland resources minister Scott Stewart said the causes would be thoroughly investigated.

A third person was admitted to hospital but has since been released.

The incident occurred at 11pm on September 14.

Operations at the mine have been suspended.

The incident is a serious setback for the Queensland mining industry as it desperately tries to reduce the spate of fatalities and serious injuries through a safety reset.

Queensland resources minister Scott Stewart paid tribute to the emergency services and other first responders at the accident and said the causes will be thoroughly investigated.

"Any loss of life on our mine sites is unacceptable, and it is my expectation the Queensland Mines Inspectorate and Resources Safety and Health Queensland will investigate this incident thoroughly and with diligence," he told parliament.

"Operations at the Crinum mine have been suspended while the investigation is under way.

"I extend my heartfelt condolences - and those of everyone in this house - to the family, friends, and co-workers of the man who has passed away, and I hope for a full and speedy recovery for the man who was injured."

Resources Safety and Health Queensland confirmed that about 11pm on Tuesday a miner lost his life and another suffered injuries following a fall of rock from the roof at Crinum underground coal mine near Emerald.

"The injured worker has been transported to hospital for assessment," it said in a statement.

Queensland police said in a statement a 60-year-old man suffered significant injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

"A 20-year-old man also sustained injuries and was airlifted to Rockhampton Base Hospital in a serious condition," it said.

Queensland Ambulance Service said a man with pelvic and leg injuries was initially trapped before being freed and flown to Rockhampton Hospital in a serious condition.

He remains in hospital in a stable condition.

Sojitz Blue CEO Cameron Vorias said mining operations had been suspended until further notice.

"We've had the devastating news of an employee at the Crinum operation, which has suffered a roof fall in the conveyor drift, and at this moment we have two parties who were involved in that and unfortunately one of those parties is deceased," he said.

"Investigations are all continuing at this moment everything is about ensuring that the family and all of the colleagues at Mastermyne and at Sojitz are fine.

"Our thoughts are firstly out to the family and everybody on site at the moment, it's absolutely devastating news and a very difficult time.

"We will do what we need to do to ensure that we understand the circumstances around this and we will work with all the authorities and assist wherever we can to ensure we understand the nature of the incident."

Sojitz acquired Crinum from BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance in 2019 for $100 million and Mastermyne was appointed as whole-of-mine contractor this year. 

Mastermyne managing director Tony Caruso said the employee's family had been notified of the incident and the company was providing them with support and assistance.

"Counselling services have also been made available to all Mastermyne staff and others impacted by the incident," he said.

"The safety and wellbeing of our staff is one of our core values. The cause of the incident will be thoroughly investigated and we will continue to support the family and our work colleagues."

Caruso said relevant authorities had been notified and started investigations into the cause of the incident.

Mastermyne said it was cooperating fully with the investigations and mining operations had been suspended until further notice.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union president Stephen Smyth said he was "shocked at and saddened" to be informed of the roof collapse at Crinum.

"We thank mines rescue and first responders for their attendance at the scene. Union inspectors are attending the site and will undertake a thorough, independent investigation," he said.

Mastermyne was awarded a seven-year mining services contract to operate the Gregory Crinum Underground mine for a total value up to $660 million in May.

It is Mastermyne's first whole of mine contract and lifted its post 2020-21 financial year order book to $1.1 billion.

During 2020, Sojitz appointed Mastermyne to undertake a feasibility study focusing on the development of a high productivity bord and pillar mining operation.

In parallel, Mastermyne was also engaged as the mine operator to undertake the re-entry process.

The underground mining area was successfully re-entered in late October, with no issues encountered.

Mastermyne continued as the mine operator while Sojitz finalised internal approvals.

The project scope includes the re-establishment of the underground infrastructure including conveyor systems, ventilation, associated mine services, remediation works and surface infrastructure, all of which is expected to take approximately six months.

Following the re-establishment works the mine was planned to transition into production with a staged ramp up to three bord and pillar mining units.

The underground mine was expected to produce about 11 million tonnes run of mine coal over the life of the project.


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