Peabody Energy has made a multi-tiered plan public which aims to extinguish the fire and contain the impacts which are occurring at the North Goonyella Mine in Queensland.
On September 28 indications of a fire in a portion of the North Goonyella Mine were made public. Fortunately, all employees were outside the exclusionary zone at the time of the incident.
The plan unveiled today was officially reviewed by the Queensland Mine Inspectorate and is undergoing implementation at this time. Peabody has since stated that safety continues to be their first priority, with underground mine and surface areas remaining restricted through exclusion zones while work continues.
Elements of the plan include:
- Implementing use of a mobile GAG unit – a specialist piece of equipment that generates high-moisture inert gases to displace oxygen supply at a fire zone;
- Installing temporary seals into mine openings following completion of risk assessments and utilising remote-control equipment to pump a fire-resistant expandable material called Rocsil;
- Ensuring the area is further isolated by additional drilling and sealing of the old longwall panel;
- Working with air quality monitoring experts on a voluntary program of environmental monitoring at North Goonyella, including regular site visits and boundary inspections to assess and analyse air quality data from key points;
- Ensuring all aspects of the exclusion zone and other safety protocols are in place and observed; and
- Utilising strict risk assessments for all anticipated plan components.
This morning, president at Peabody Australia, George J. Schuller Jr. said that Peabody has been working in consultation with the Inspectorate and third-party experts and are working as quickly and safely as possible to address the situation.
“Peabody appreciates the ongoing work of the team at North Goonyella, the Inspectorate, independent technical experts, Queensland Mines Rescue Service, union representatives and all of the people who are engaged in the response to this issue,” he said.
As per the announcement on September 28, Peabody does not expect any production from North Goonyella in the fourth quarter of 2018 and has a small amount of coal in inventory to ship. It is too early to assess the full financial impact on future periods due to the ongoing issue. However, with a strong performance from other mines, the company is maintaining its full-year 2018 metallurgical coal sales volume targets of 11 – 12 million tonnes.
The fire is ongoing and it is currently too early to assess the extent of the impacts.