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Anglo Coal receives largest ever fine over mine worker’s death

22 May 2017

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines has successfully prosecuted coal mine operator AngloCoal (Capcoal Management) Pty Ltd resulting in a record fine of $284,625.

On 11 December 2014, Mr Ian Downes, a coal mine worker performing work at the AngloCoal-operated Grasstree Mine, was tragically killed in a mining incident involving a rock fall.

The incident was thoroughly investigated by the Mines Inspectorate, and the Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health laid charges against AngloCoal for breaches of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act.

Anglo Coal was fined $284,625 and a conviction was recorded against the company in the Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday. 

This is the largest fine ever imposed for an offence against this Act, and this is the first time a conviction has been recorded against a coal mine operator company for such an offence. 

Magistrate Nerida Wilson said Mr Downes was “entitled to expect that the site was safe”.

She also stated that workers should not be the last line of defence. 

Queensland Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health Kate du Preez said the department’s Coal Mine Inspectorate did not launch prosecutions lightly.

“Prosecution is usually a last resort under our regulatory enforcement framework,” Ms du Preez said.

“However, it is important mine operators are held publicly accountable for the safety of their workers, and we believe strong action needs to be taken as a deterrent.

“The Coal Mine Inspectorate continues to work with industry to improve safety standards and performance. Queensland has an enviable safety and health record in the resources industry and it is among the safest in the world. 

“Our role is to focus the attention of resources industry management and workers on safety and health priorities. 

"The department plays a critical role in this regard, and has a key focus on achieving the same high standard of safety across all industries in the resources sector.

“As this tragic incident shows, there is no room for complacency when it comes to safety. All workers in the industry must ensure that safety is part of their everyday operations and culture.

“It’s important not to just get the job done, but to get it done safely and without unnecessary risk.”

The Department extends its deepest condolences to Mr Downes’ family, friends and work colleagues for their loss.

Contact: Mark Hodder
Phone: 3199 8250


Last updated: 9 June 2017

The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy is an economic development agency that enables the productive and responsible use of our natural resources – water, land, mineral and energy resources – to generate wealth and prosperity for current and future generations of Queenslanders.

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