12th May 2020

The NSW Resources Regulator will lead a causal investigation into an incident at Wambo North Underground Coal Mine, where a drilling platform and rig collapsed into a vertical shaft as it was being drilled.

On 3 May, a vertical shaft intended to be used for ventilation purposes was being bored from the surface. As the cutting head neared a bulkhead constructed in the underground workings to contain the shaft material, the bulkhead failed catastrophically, releasing the material into the workings. The dynamic change in conditions in the shaft lead to further strata failure, causing the collapse of the drilling platform and rig into the collar of the shaft.

The Resources Regulator will conduct a causal investigation of the incident to enable the quick and full understanding of the cause and circumstances and the publication of corresponding lessons to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

Stakeholders have been invited to participate, including the mine operator, drilling and bulkhead contractors, workers and industry and mine safety and health representatives.

The Resources Regulator will publish an Investigation Information Release on the incident within the next 14 days on the department’s website.