Report: APP CMHS Project 4

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1. Introduction

Asia-Pacific Partnership (APP) partners Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the United States of America (USA) have agreed to work together and with private sector partners to meet goals for energy security, national air pollution reduction, and climate change in ways that promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. The seven partner countries represent about half of the world’s economy, population and energy use. The Partnership has created eight task forces comprised of public and private representatives from key industry sectors, one of which is the Coal Mining Task Force.

APP Partners collectively generate approximately 65% of the world’s primary coal production. Coal is the dominant fuel source globally and among the partners, its use is expected to continue to grow over the coming decades. One of the task force’s objectives is the improvement of workplace safety in mining and coal processing. This is to be addressed by the Coal Mining Task Force by developing a “Coal Mine Health & Safety Strategy (CMHS).

The CMHS aims to significantly reduce the number of mine accidents and fatalities by promoting leading health and safety practices. This Strategy will also deliver environmental benefits, through promoting opportunities to capture and utilise coal mine methane, in particular from ventilation air which would otherwise be expelled, and through using coal seam gas in advance of mining operations. It focuses on the root causes of multiple mine fatalities and injuries such as fire and explosions from gas releases, inrush, and rock falls. Five sub-projects have been identified as priority areas for APP Partners to address in order to work towards achieving the Strategy's objective. One of these sub-projects relates to hazard identification and risk management. The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism has engaged CSIRO to undertake the project.

The project focuses on describing leading hazard identification, risk management, crisis management and disaster recovery techniques relevant to underground coal mining. Initially, leading practices being used or developed in APP countries will be identified, followed by an analysis of relevant practices in countries outside the APP and the potential to apply such technology to underground coal mines. Finally, technology solutions from other countries and industries that could be adapted to address priority hazards in underground coal mining will be identified. Consideration will be given to introducing such technology into the Coal Mine Safety Demonstration Project in China (Appendix A).

The project is addressed in three stages:

  • Stage 1 – Compilation of the methods, tools and aids to assist member countries build hazard management capacity approaches.

  • Stage 2 – Establish a program to help partners apply these resources.

  • Stage 3 – Develop a dissemination strategy to allow for the successful deployment of new and existing hazard identification and risk assessment systems and processes.

As there is no or limited coal production from underground coal mining in South Korea, Japan and Canada, this report focused on Australia, China, India and USA.

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