Grasstree Mine, Middlemount, is owned by Anglo Coal.
Grasstree Mine, Middlemount, is owned by Anglo Coal.

MINE INQUIRY: Anglo reveals why it uses labour hire

UPDATE 1PM: SAFETY, productivity and cost are the key reasons Anglo American uses labour hire workers, the coal mining board of inquiry has heard.

The company's metallurgical coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson said of the 980 people employed at Grosvenor mine, he estimated about 70 to 75 per cent were labour hire workers.

"From our perspective, the labour hire arrangement we have in place, (those) decisions were made based on the situation at the time," Mr Mitchelson told the inquiry.

"If you're referring to the Grosvenor situation, I wasn't here when that decision was made. 

"The intent was it's the best labour arrangement that is going to give you the safest, most productive employees at the mine."  

He later noted that cost was also a factor in the decision.

Operations are not expected to restart at Grosvenor until the second half of next year, with mining at the longwall site suspended since the May 6 underground blast.

 The workforce has continued to be supported on full pay.

Mr Mitchelson said workers were engaged to complete other activities at the mine. 

UPDATE 12PM: A MINING boss was aware of 10 methane high potential incidents at Grosvenor in the same month, but maintains adequate systems were in place to manage them.

Anglo American metallurgical coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson said he had a conversation with the company's executive head of underground operations, Glen Britton, after the spate of HPIs occurred at Grosvenor.

Just 10 months later, five miners were horrifically injured in an underground blast at the mine on May 6.

Mr Mitchelson told the coal mining board of inquiry he discussed process management and mitigation strategies with Mr Britton after the 10 HPIs were reported.

But when asked whether the spate of HPIs suggested control had been lost over methane at Grosvenor, Mr Mitchelson disagreed.

"I wouldn't say control over methane had been lost when we look at the entire package - the ventilation and other controls that were in place," he said.

"Goaf drainage need to be addressed and our operating practices needed to be addressed."

EARLIER 10.30AM: GAS management is a problem for Anglo American, the company's metallurgical coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson says.

Mr Mitchelson is being questioned during today's Coal Mining Board of Inquiry public hearing in Brisbane.

He referred to gas management as an "issue" and "focus of the business" before admitting it was "a problem".

But Mr Mitchelson insisted that safety came before production at Anglo American's coal mines.

"Safe production has got to be the focus of the business - a safe mine is a productive mine," he said.

"Safety is our primary focus, I refer to it as safe production."

Mr Mitchelson recognised that gas problems at the company's underground mines had caused a raft of high potential incidents (HPIs) and had impacted the business.

INITIAL: THE boss of mining giant Anglo American's metallurgical coal business will appear as a witness during today's Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry in Brisbane.

Chief executive Tyler Mitchelson will be the first evidence to give evidence as the inquiry enters its third week.

The August hearings have focused on the role of the Mines Inspectorate, the role of the industry and site safety and health representatives and how the management structure and employment arrangements of the mining companies may impact on mine safety.

They have also explored the methane exceedances at Grasstree, Moranbah North and Oaky North mines.

More stories:

Anglo's new measures to prevent Grosvenor mine repeat

Tragic 60 seconds: Mine blast findings released

Grosvenor miners injured in blast take steps to recovery

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham announced the Coal Mining Board of Inquiry in the wake of the Grosvenor mine disaster, which left five workers with horrific burns injuries.

Anglo American is the mine owner.

Anglo American metallurgical coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson.
Anglo American metallurgical coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson.

Hearings into the Grosvenor incident are expected to occur later this year.

Members of the public are encouraged to observe the hearings on livestream or attend the hearings in person.

A livestream broadcast will be available on the inquiry's website and is accessible from any internet enabled device.

The hearings will be held in court 17 of the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

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Week three witness list:

August 17

Tyler Mitchelson - Head of Metallurgical Coal Anglo American plc

Chief Executive Officer Anglo American Metallurgical Coal Pty Ltd

Warwick Jones - Head of Human Resources

Anglo American plc - BC Met Coal

August 18

Warwick Jones - Head of Human Resources

Anglo American plc - BC Met Coal

Damien Wynn - Site Senior Executive

Grasstree Mine

August 19

Gavin Taylor

Professor Michael Quinlan - Emeritus Professor of Industrial Relations

University of New South Wales - Business School,

Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia

August 20

Professor Michael Quinlan - Emeritus Professor of Industrial Relations

University of New South Wales - Business School,

Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia

John Sleigh - Vice President Northern Region

Mine Managers Association of Australia

August 21

Ben Lewis - Regional Director

One Key Resources Limited

Greg Dalliston - Retired Industry Safety and Health Representative



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