Anglo American plc has safely restarted its Grosvenor metallurgical coal mining operation in Queensland, Australia. Following a gas incident in May 2020 that severely injured five workers, regulator, Resources Safety and Health Queensland, gave the company approval to recommence longwall mining operations on February 16.

“We have been working toward a safe restart at Grosvenor for several months and today we are up and running having received our regulator’s approval last week,” said Tyler Mitchelson, CEO of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business. “Over the past 18 months, we have worked with leading industry experts and invested significantly in automation technology, remote operations, gas management and data analytics, introducing a number of advancements in the way underground coal mines can operate.”

The mine closed back in May 2020 after a methane ignition occurred underground. The company resealed the impacted area of the mine with five large, concrete seals and installed additional gas monitoring infrastructure. It also completed a highly rigorous risk assessment process ahead of re-entry, drawing on both internal and external experts. The company planned on taking a staged approach to re-entry, with the team initially completing safety and compliance inspections, and restoring power and gas monitoring.

Following confirmation of the restart at Grosvenor, while export metallurgical coal production guidance for 2022 is unchanged at 20 million metric tons (mt) to 22 million mt, due to the impact of COVID-19 in early 2022 and a later than expected restart of operations at Grosvenor, production is expected to be toward the lower end of the guidance range.