The end for mine at Blackwater?
Mine management unsure whether mine will reopen after underground flooding this week
Wednesday 15 March 2017
The future of Cook Colliery - Queensland’s oldest underground mine - remains uncertain today with management yet to work out the source and impact of water that has flooded their longwall operations.
No injuries have been reported.
A spokesperson for the mine's owner Caledon Resources told Shift Miner flooding started just over a week ago when longwall mining operations broke into a yet-to-be-determined large source of water.
“The inflow began on 7 March in one production section of the mine, and large inflows of water have continued,” Caledon said.
“The volume of water inflow exceeds normal pumping capacity and additional pumping capacity has been installed to contain the water level.
“At this time, the source of the water is unknown.”
Caledon had an Inrush Management Plan to manage this exact sort of event and says the plan has been followed, including suspending all production until the situation is brought back under control.
However with the mine still extensively flooded, Caledon is unable to make a conclusive decision about the future.
“Current efforts are focused on dewatering the impacted area, after which a full assessment will be undertaken the company says.
“It is too early to determine the impact of the inflow event on the future of the mine or its impact on jobs.”
Cook Colliery is the state's oldest underground mine, and before the introduction of a longwall mining system in 2014, was a board and pillar operation producing around 400,000 tonnes of coal a year.
However, the mines age and geology have presented all sorts of technical challenges that resulted in the longwall stopping for around nine months in 2015.
Then late last year there were further production delays so they could shift the longwall, complete an installation road, and work on the mine's ventilation system.At its peak in 2015 330 people were employed at Cook Colliery, who mostly came from Blackwater.