MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Queensland on Monday ordered an independent enquiry into an explosion at a coal mine run by Anglo American in the state that last week critically injured five workers.
The accident took place 15 months after another Anglo American worker was killed at a nearby mining complex and comes just months after a review called for tighter regulation of the sector that has seen at least 48 deaths since 2000.
The probe will be led by a retired judge or Queens Counsel who will be able to conduct hearings, call witnesses and make broad inquiries relating to the blast, state mines minister Anthony Lynham said.
“An underground gas explosion in a coal mine is simply unacceptable in the 21st century,” Lynham said in a statement.
“This latest board of inquiry is an opportunity to continue this government’s sweeping reforms to protect mine workers.”