Underground coal mining is entirely automated
The long-wall mining technology is highly efficient, productive and increases worker safety. A mechanical process ‘shears' the coal from the wall. The shearers are mounted on a self-advancing hydraulic ceiling support, protecting the workers under it. The sheared coal panel falls onto a conveyor belt for removal with minimal manual handling and significantly reduced coal dust over years' past.
Staff are undergoing intensive safety training now
All site operations are conducted under the strict safety regulations of the Mines Act and the Health and Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia. Future staff at the Murray River site have received safety and English language training to meet BC safety preparedness standards. The pre-work safety training is a level higher than their present jobs require, however, it supports HD Mining's commitment to ensuring the highest safety standards. HD Mining is committed to ongoing training for staff in BC.
Underground air quality is closely monitored
A ventilation plan will outline key airflow needs within the mine to maximize the safety of our team. Gas and air monitoring will occur regularly at locations both within the air intake and the return airways. Effective central monitoring, communications systems and a plan for action are key elements of safety in our underground environment.
A new comprehensive safety manual, prepared by North American experts, will establish processes and accountabilities:
Safety Solutions International (SSI), a leading North American mine safety company, is developing a comprehensive safety and health manual and benchmarking process for HD Mining. The manual will provide the best practices for underground coal mining and will integrate the existing training and credentials of both Chinese and Canadian staff. It will include a Code of Conduct governing the operation, and is being developed in a manner that will allow for monitoring and measuring of activities and compliance.
Mine Safety in British Columbia is World Class!
BC has a strong track record for mine safety, created through regulation, development of Mine Emergency Response plans and a network of on the ground Mine Inspectors. In 2010 the estimated injury rate at an underground mines decreased to 1.6 from 3.6 in 2009, lower than the injury rate for open pit metal mines which stood at 1.8 in 2010.
Underground miners on the Murray River site have been participating in a BC specific safety training program to learn about the requirements of the BC Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines. A comprehensive safety monitoring process will be in place through the life of the mine to monitor success and make adjustments as necessary.