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BREAKING: First open cut miner diagnosed with black lung

THE first case of black lung disease in an open cut mine worker has been confirmed.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines today confirmed the 16th case of black lung since May 2015.

ABC has reported the victim is 55-year-old Paul Head, who works at BMA's Goonyella Riverside open cut mine near Moranbah.

He has never worked underground, unlike the 15 other confirmed cases since the disease re-emerged in Queensland mines last year.

A Department spokesman said the man had worked in the industry for more than 30 years.

"In previous decades, above-ground coal miners operated open-cab coal mining machines, which exposed them to respirable coal dust,” he said.

"Advancements in technology and new equipment design means air-conditioned and dust-controlled environments are now available to coal mine workers, reducing their exposure to dust.

"The Queensland Government is working with industry and unions to strengthen the regulatory framework around coal dust monitoring and to drive improvement in dust levels.”

The spokesman encouraged concerned miners to see their GPs.

BMA has been contacted for comment.



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