On Thursday, April 22, a team from Anglo American’s Grosvenor mine in Australia began the re-entry process to the underground workings of the mine, following approval from Resources Safety & Health Queensland (RSHQ). CEO of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business Tyler Mitchelson said the re-entry was a positive step toward the safe restart of mining at Grosvenor.

The mine closed back in May 2020 after a methane ignition occurred underground.

“Following a substantive program of work that included permanently sealing the impacted area of the mine with five large, concrete seals and installing additional gas monitoring infrastructure, we completed a highly rigorous risk assessment process ahead of re-entry, drawing on both internal and external experts,” Mitchelson said. “We are taking a staged approach to re-entry, with the team initially completing safety and compliance inspections, and restoring power and gas monitoring to ensure the safety and integrity of the mine.”

He acknowledged the “thorough and detailed approach taken by RSHQ” over the last several months.

“We are continuing to capture and action relevant learnings as they become available, including through the Board of Inquiry,” he added.

Last year, the mine began improvements with a focus on technology solutions such as remote operations. “These solutions will be embedded at Grosvenor prior to restarting longwall mining in the second half of this year,” Mitchelson added.

Anglo American said it has continued to support its Grosvenor workforce since longwall mining activities halted. Mitchelson said, “The safety of our workforce is our priority and we are continuing to engage closely with them and support all of our colleagues who were impacted by the incident last year.”