2015 level 1 mine emergency exercise

The 2015 level 1 mine emergency exercise was conducted at North Goonyella mine, about 160km west of Mackay in Central Queensland. This page provides a summary of the exercise and its recommendations. For more information, download the full 2015 level 1 mine emergency exercise report.

Emergency scenario

The simulation occurred at the beginning of a shift and involved an outburst in a development heading that released gas and coal debris, injured the development personnel and disrupted the development auxiliary fan ventilation.

A methane gas plug travelled into the return roadway, where an Eimco (having been on cleaning duties the previous shift) acted as an ignition source. The resulting explosion damaged ventilation overcasts and a stopping. This resulted in a short-circuit of air and gases from the explosion, travelling to the longwall where coal mine workers (CMWs) had to wear self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs) to effect an escape.

The following issues were to be addressed throughout this scenario:

  • CMWs have to effect an escape wearing SCSRs in a potentially irrespirable atmosphere.
  • There are injured and trapped CMWs.
  • There is a missing CMW (the Eimco driver).
  • Ventilation is disrupted.

Emergency exercise video

This short video of the exercise focuses on the evacuation of both underground crews. It was filmed during the exercise and accurately represents events.

Transcript of the 2015 level 1 mine emergency exercise video

Key recommendations for industry

The key recommendations are shown below. For details of these and other recommendations, read the 2015 level 1 mine emergency exercise report.

  1. Continued training was required in the donning of SCSRs and the SCSR changeover process.
  2. All coal mines with escape systems based on SCSRs should implement changeover stations. This recommendation originally appeared as recommendation 38 in the 2002 exercise and stated: ‘the introduction of changeover stations to the mine should be evaluated. This would allow verbal communications with the surface enroute and provide a place to leave injured persons if required. It also allows a safer environment for the changeover of SCSRs’.
  3. The exercise organising committee should review RS08: Conduct of mine emergency exercises (PDF, 125KB) to ensure that the Queensland Mine Rescue Service can achieve a meaningful callout and deployment as part of the exercise process.
  4. All coal mines should develop realistic level 2 exercises to practice the mine emergency management system (MEMS) as well as use desktop scenarios to practice the incident management team (IMT) process.
  5. Mines should review their systems to account for personnel during a mine emergency, particularly when people remain underground as part of the initial emergency response.
  6. An industry standard should be developed for SCSR training, changeover protocols, the use of reflective canes and non-verbal communications.