THE resting place of miners who perished in the Moura No 2 and Kianga tragedies will be protected forever, after Anglo Coal established a mining exclusion zone around the sites.
Preliminary drilling started in April last year around the fan shaft to the No. 2 underground mine in an area near where 11 miners were entombed after an explosion on August 7, 1994.
This incensed workers and the Moura community and CFMEU industry safety and health representative Greg Dalliston contacted the mine and issued a directive for operations in the area to stop.
Over the next 12 months Anglo Coal, the Department of Mines and Energy and union representatives held a series of meetings and as a result Anglo Coal has established the mining exclusion zone.
Anglo Coal Australia (ACA) chief executive officer Seamus French said the permanent exclusion zone had been introduced to the section of the Dawson mines where past mining tragedies occurred, to ensure the area was sealed forever and would never again be disturbed by mining activity.
Mr French said the Department of Mines and Energy fully supported the move and had offered its help with any further requirements to formalise the zone.
“Preserving this site is extremely important for the Dawson team, the local community, and the families of the miners who are forever trapped underground as a result of past tragedies that occurred before ACA took ownership of the Dawson Mines.
“It is with great respect for those families and the Moura community that Dawson management is committed to ensuring these areas will never be disturbed again,” Mr French said.
He said introducing the Dawson Exclusion Zone sent a strong message about the importance of safety in mining and how critical it was for the entire industry to ensure the safety of employees.
Mr Dalliston said it was good to see common sense prevail.
He was alarmed when told last year that drilling was taking place near the miner's final resting place and acted quickly.
“There were some pretty heated meetings, but all parties have worked together to reach this agreement,” Mr Dalliston said.
“As a result of the agreement, Dawson Mine have also developed a pretty extensive permit to mine system they use when mining areas above the old underground mines - obviously they cannot go into the exclusion zone.
“This is a great initiative designed to make it safer for the miners working in these areas.”
Mr Dalliston said Anglo had also agreed to provide access to the Moura No 2 and Kianga Memorials so families and work colleagues could continue to visit and pay their respect.
He said AMWU Moura representative John Hempseed deserved praise for talking with the families of the lost miners during the process and for co-ordinating the meetings and public consultation session.
Mr Hempseed welcomed the exclusion zone, saying it was something the miners and the community wanted for the families and to protect their lost workmates.
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