The Government of New South Wales, Australia (NSW), has announced the launch of an underground mine explosives facility on the Central Coast to encourage further innovation and development of explosive testing in the mining industry.

The independent underground mine explosives facility is the only one of its kind in Australia, and aims to enhance the number of explosives that are suitable for underground coal mine operations.

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The facility is part of the State’s plans to become a national leader in mine safety development.

New South Wales Deputy Premier and Regional New South Wales Minister John Barilaro launched the facility’s first round of explosive testing.

The new facility is located at Freeman’s Waterhole. It will operate under the management of the Mine Safety Technology Centre within the NSW Resources Regulator.

Barilaro said: “Currently, there are few explosives that can be used in underground coal mines and these kinds of explosives have a very short shelf life, they don’t travel well and need to be developed and tested locally.

“Under the control of the NSW Resources Regulator’s Mine Safety Technology Centre, this facility will be used to determine if locally made explosives are viable and meet vital safety requirements to protect the wellbeing of workers.”

“The industry benefits significantly from the use of explosives in underground mines and the facility launched today will allow greater testing, experimentation and innovation from local businesses that specialise in producing explosives for mines.

“The facility is also discreet, it has been built on the site of a quarry to reduce impact on the surrounding environment and computer modelling has been used to determine the most effective ways to reduce noise.”

In August 2018, the NSW Resources Regulator updated to its compliance priorities for the second half of 2018 to improve safety at mining operations in New South Wales.