Five miners were seriously injured on May 6 when a possible gas ignition occurred at Anglo American’s Grosvenor mine near Moranbah, Australia. Anglo American has started a staged re-entry into the mine “to be able to safely access the longwall area where the incident occurred and begin our expert technical investigation,” according to Tyler Mitchelson, CEO of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal Business.

“Our priority remains the care of our five injured colleagues, their families and all of our workforce at this difficult time,” he added.

The investigation will draw on industry experts, including those in methane and ventilation management and forensic fire analysis, Mitchelson said.

“We will not recommence mining until we know what happened and how we can prevent it happening again,” Mitchelson said.

During the re-entry, work will begin in areas of the mine complex where work is essential for the ongoing safety and integrity of the mine while the investigations proceed, the company said.

“It would not be right for us or anyone else to comment on the circumstances leading up to this incident, as this will all form part of the thorough expert investigation,” Mitchelson said. “It is therefore very premature for anyone to speculate on the causes of this particular incident.”

The staged re-entry will ensure all safety controls are in place including reconnecting the gas monitoring equipment, restoring power to the underground and pumping excess water from the mine.

The five injured miners were transferred to Brisbane for further treatment, after receiving immediate medical assistance at the Moranbah Hospital.