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Solid Energy closes Huntly East mine on methane build-up

Thursday 21st June 2012

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The newly beefed-up mines inspectorate has issued a Prohibition Notice to stop mining at Solid Energy's Huntly East underground coal extraction operation after identifying a methane build-up in a recently mined area.

The notice, issued by the Department of Labour's High Hazards Unit, will keep mining operations temporarily suspended until the state-owned coal company has provided information on how it is managing underground methane.

"The company remains confident that its mines are operating safely," said Solid Energy Chief Operating Officer Barry Bragg. "We will provide the required information to the department today and will meet the inspectors again tomorrow. We are aware of no reason why the prohibition notice should not be lifted as soon as we have provided the information the department is seeking and expect to resume full mining activities shortly afterwards.”

Explosions caused by methane build-ups in the privately owned Pike River underground coal mine in November 2010 took 29 lives and led to increased resources and focus on underground coal mining safety management.

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