Anglo American’s flagship Grosvenor and Moranbah North mines and Glencore’s Okay North and Oaky No 1 mines were negligent in monitoring dust levels.
“Based on our knowledge of diseases caused by coal dust, it is my view that any failure to comply reflects a gross disregard of an operator’s obligations to protect their workforce,” Lynham told parliament.
The mines could now be audited by the Mines Inspectorate or even closed.
Anglo American Metallurgical Coal CEO David Diamond said the company was totally committed to the recognised standard for monitoring respirable dust monitoring in coal mines, which was recently introduced by the Queensland Government.
“Our dust monitoring is carried out as a priority and is undertaken by independent and accredited testing organisations,” he said.
Diamond confirmed the second quarter sampling targets of two Anglo American mines did not fully comply with the regulations.
“We will work with the Queensland government to urgently address the issue and to ensure full compliance,” he said.
“We can confirm that during the same period, we undertook independent monitoring procedures to ensure that the health and safety of all employees and contractors was not comprised at all of our sites.
“We acknowledge the work the Queensland government has undertaken in improving dust management across the industry and in particular, Minister Lynham’s commitment to this important work.”
Diamond said the company wanted to ensure that all its mines were totally compliant to the Recognized Standard for monitoring respirable dust monitoring in coal mines.
Glencore said in a statement it was “very disappointed” in the result and the company had rectified its dust monitoring and reporting failures.
“We are very disappointed and have begun an investigation into this matter that will include both internal and external personnel,” it said.
“We can confirm that for the current September Quarter 2017 both mines have completed dust sampling.
“We will work with the Queensland Mines Inspectorate to ensure this won't happen again.”