21 Feb 2012

Spring Creek mine closed by Labour Department

5:57 am on 21 February 2012

The mines inspectorate stopped work at the Spring Creek coal mine near Greymouth.

The Department of Labour inspectorate issued the owner, Solid Energy, with a prohibition notice on Monday morning after three recent incidents at the mine.

In one incident, a diesel generator caught fire, sending carbon monoxide into the mine.

The other events were a failure of a system to alert workers to the stopping of a main fan, and a tripped development fan.

Solid Energy chief operating officer Barry Bragg says they incidents occurred due to a breakdown in systems.

Mr Bragg says they should not have happened and he will now work with the Department of Labour to resolve the situation.

Spring Creek Mine employs about 230 people including mineworkers, tradespeople and professional specialists. About 40 people work underground at any one time.

Solid Energy says Spring Creek is currently in a development phase, with limited coal output, so stopping underground work is not expected to affect the mine's customers.