Workers have been stood down without pay at the Baralaba North Coal Mine until further notice because “severe” impacts from rain and floodwaters forced its closure, the operator said.

Key points:

  • Workers have been stood down without pay at the Baralaba North Mine in central Queensland
  • Golding Mining said rain impacted the mining lease and closed access roads
  • The company expects the mine will reopen in the next fortnight, weather permitting

Golding Mining, the company that operates the mine, suspended operations on December 2 after consultation with Queensland Police and the mine’s owners, Wonbindi Coal.

In a letter to employees dated December 6, Golding Mining general manager Paul Oram said there were “water impacts” on the mining lease, and access roads to the mine were closed. 

“We have completed risk assessments on these weather impacts and made the decision to suspend operations until further notice,” Mr Oram said.

The Baralaba North Mine is an open-cut operation located about 5 kilometres north of Baralaba, or about 140 kilometres from Rockhampton.

Mr Oram said employees during this time were able to apply for annual or long service leave for the period they were stood down.

“If you receive this notice you are instructed not to attend your rostered shifts this swing. I advise that you are stood down from normal duties without pay until the weather impacts have passed and normal operations resume at the mine,” the letter reads.

“We understand that this situation creates a significant impost on you personally.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and taking all possible efforts to minimise the effects.

“We are also attempting to be in a position to resume operations when the usual accesses allow and will communicate updates as we know them.”

Union slams move

Mining and energy union CFMEU’s Emerald district vice president Shane Brunker said workers “disgusted” by Golding’s decision to stand them down without pay had contacted him airing their frustrations.

A man in high vis orange, with dark sunglasses stands on the main street in Clermont.

Shane Brunker is a CFMEU representative for Central Queensland. Mr Brunker says work legislation pressures workers to risk their lives.(ABC News: Jess Davis)

“They’re not happy and there’s a similar problem that’s happening across the industry and at a lot of mine sites,” Mr Brunker said.

“Unfortunately, it’s a hangover from the current fair workers legislation which allows management to stand workers down for whatever reason.

“It puts a lot of pressure on coal mine workers, particularly when they’re in precarious employment.”

Mr Brunker said the move put pressure on employees to put themselves in dangerous situations to attend work.  

Mine safety a priority

A spokesperson for the company confirmed the mine had been closed to ensure workers’ safety and said operations would resume as soon as it was safe to do so.

Signs reading 'active mine site' and 'private road — no unauthorised entry' at a gate blocking a road.

The Baralaba North coal mine.(ABC News: Megan Hendry)

“The decision to temporarily cease operations has been taken to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our people, without full and safe site access to emergency response services, operations could not continue,” the spokesperson said.

“We understand that this has unfortunately impacted our workforce, but their safety is our priority.

“We look forward to being able to gain safe access to the site as soon as possible to recommence operations.”

Posted , updated 

‘Disgusted’ workers stood down without pay as central Queensland coal mine closes from flooding
Source 1


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