20th August 2013…Carpenter Mine Management was fined $100,000 at Bunbury Magistrate’s Court today, after a worker was injured during a 2008 explosion at a South West trial coal drying and char plant.
Electrical contractor Anthony Eames, who was 61 years old at the time of the incident, suffered severe burns to the upper part of his body and head at Griffin Coal’s Ewington Trial Char Plant near Collie, which was being operated by Carpenter Mine Management.
Carpenter Mine Management pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment, following a thorough investigation and prosecution led by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).
The court heard an explosion occurred on 23 October 2008 after oxygen levels were too high for the plant to be operated safely without a fire or explosion. In addition to seriously injuring Mr Eames, the explosion damaged various infrastructure and equipment within the plant.
When delivering the sentence, Magistrate Elizabeth Hamilton said she accepted Carpenter Mine Management was aware of the risk of fire and explosion and that a fire and explosion was entirely foreseeable.
The sentence comes as DMP launches an investigation into the death of a contractor last week at Fortescue Metal Group’s Christmas Creek mine in the Pilbara, following nearly two years without a WA mining death. In 2012, Western Australia’s resources sector achieved its first fatality-free year since records began in 1896.