Report: APP CMHS Project 1

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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 Identify and Collate Leading Safety Technologies. The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism has engaged CSIRO to undertake the project.

The project focuses on leading practices and technologies currently being used, introduced or developed in the APP Partner countries, followed by a detailed analysis to identify potential practices and technologies in countries outside the APP. This analysis will investigate their potential to become coal mine safety and health best practices and technologies within the APP Partner countries. It will also determine gaps between currently available practices, technologies and common hazards in coal mines that are identified by APP Partner countries and identify technology solutions that could be adapted or developed to address these priority issues.

The project is addressed in four stages:

  • Stage 1 – Identify and prioritise common safety and health risks in APP Partner coal mines and examine leading safety and health practices and technologies that are currently being used, introduced or developed that could be adopted by other APP Partner coal mines.

  • Stage 2 – Develop a best practice report that includes a listing and description by country of those mines adopting or using leading practices and technologies, as well as details of mines that are identified by APP Partners as willing to host demonstration visits organised through future APP initiatives.

  • Stage 3 – Develop a technology map which outlines existing mine safety and health practices and technologies, determines gaps in practices and technologies for dealing with issues identified by the APP Partner countries as priorities, and develops concepts for addressing these gaps in the safety and health systems.

  • Stage 4 - Production of information for dissemination via seminars and a website.

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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