The Queensland government has launched a mine safety board of inquiry to investigate more than 40 methane gas incidents that have occurred in underground coal mines in the state since mid-2019.

The inquiry follows the underground gas explosion earlier this month at the Anglo American-operated Grosvenor Coal Mine, in theMoranbah region of Queensland, which injured five people.

Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said: “The board will be able to conduct public hearings, call witnesses and make broad inquiries, findings and recommendations relating to the incident.

“The board’s terms of reference ask them to inquire into the incident at Grosvenor Mine as well as 40 other high potential incidents relating to the principal hazard of methane.

“They have been asked to determine the nature and cause of each of the Grosvenor accident and make findings in relation to the incidents.”

Lynham told Parliament that the board members would include retired District Court Judge Terry Martin as chairperson, as well as Professor Andrew Hopkins from the Australian National University.

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Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief of Coal Mines and a team of inspectors carried out a full investigation at Grosvenor mine site.

Lynham added: “Queensland has the world’s toughest mine safety and health laws after five years of sweeping reform under the Palaszczuk Government.

“I look forward to this inquiry helping us bring home every Queensland worker to their friends and family at the end of their working day.”

According to a new mine safety law passed by the Queensland parliament, mining executives could now face up to 20 years in prison if mine and quarry workers die as a result of criminal negligence.