2016 level 1 mine emergency exercise (coal mines)

The 2016 level 1 mine emergency exercise was held at Grasstree underground coal mine, 26km east of Tieri, about 250km south-west of Mackay. This page provides a summary of the exercise and its recommendations. For more information, download the full 2016 level 1 mine emergency exercise report.

Emergency scenario

The exercise was conducted at 8am and involved a friction fire that developed quickly on the loop take up (LTU) of one of the conveyers. Pollutants from the fire quickly spread into the development headings - it was assumed that a ventilation stopping had been damaged on the previous night shift and not reported.

High CO levels quickly reached the development crews and the longwall crews, who had to effect a self-rescue using Self Contained Self Rescuer (SCSR) and smoke goggles to simulate a low-visibility environment. Crew had to stop at the change over bays (COBs) along the way to change self-rescuers during their escape.

Three persons acted as missing personnel for the Queensland Mines Rescue Service (QMRS) to locate once the fire had been controlled. The exercise tested the mine's personnel locator system, which was used to help locate the missing workers and establish a search pattern.

Key recommendations for industry

The key industry recommendations are shown below. For details of these and other recommendations, read the 2016 level 1 mine emergency exercise report.

All mine sites and other agencies should review the recommendations and use them in the gap analysis of their emergency response systems as well as audit tool prompts.

For industry action:

  • Decide on the funding for the emergency winder proposal developed by QMRS.
  • Continue training in the donning of SCSRs and changeover process of SCSR to SCSR.
  • Review the design and location of COBs using technical documentation on their design, construction and placement.
  • Review the applicability of the EMQ net system or other equivalent system that interfaces with MRAS, Safegas and other gas monitoring systems.
  • Develop firefighting protocols for evacuating mine workers, detailing training capability and minimum equipment requirements, clothing and breathing equipment.

For Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy action:

  • Convene workshops to validate and consolidate exercise recommendations and the other outstanding recommendations.