The entry to Grosvenor Mine, near Moranbah. Picture: Daryl Wright
The entry to Grosvenor Mine, near Moranbah. Picture: Daryl Wright

Grosvenor explosion: Bosses may not be forced to testify

A law change to force witnesses to testify at a public inquiry into the Grosvenor mine explosion has still not been actioned a month out from the restart of hearings.

A second tranche of hearings as part of the Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry begin mid-March.

The hearings will explore high potential incidents of methane exceedances that occurred at Grosvenor mine between July 1, 2019 and May 5, 2020 as well as the May 6 blast that left five miners with serious burns injuries.

The inquiry began in August last year but faced delays.

In September, the board's interim report called for legislative changes to avoid mine workers incriminating themselves when they gave evidence.

It urged the State Government to change the legislation.

An aerial image of Anglo American's Grosvenor Mine. Picture: Daryl Wright
An aerial image of Anglo American's Grosvenor Mine. Picture: Daryl Wright

"Counsel Assisting was alerted to the prospect of widespread claims of privilege against self-incrimination by many, if not most, of the Anglo employees to be called as witnesses," the report said.

"The board also has the power to compel the witness to provide all relevant evidence in public at the inquiry."

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said he was involved in regular discussions with the board about its request.

"In assessing the request, the government must weigh up a number of factors including persons' legal rights; the impact it may have on future prosecutions; and the ability of the board to do its work," Mr Stewart said.

"There is nothing to prevent the board from calling any eyewitnesses to the incident.

"Our government is committed to maintaining the most effective regulatory framework possible to ensure every worker in Queensland's resources industries goes home safe."

Resources Minister Scott Stewart. Picture: Matt Taylor.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart. Picture: Matt Taylor.

More stories:

Anglo willing to 'revise' production target at CQ mines

Board of Inquiry: MP seeks advice on mine report release

Mine inquiry announces second round of public hearings

The government's last chance to change the law in time will be at the first sitting of parliament next week.

It is understood the government is concerned any change to the law could jeopardise potential prosecutions arising from the Grosvenor explosion.

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