Moura No. 2 Mine Explosion


The Moura district in Queensland had a number of mining disasters over the period of 1975 through 1994. Between the explosions in the Kianga No. 1, Moura No. 2, and Moura No. 4 mines, there were 36 fatalities.

Upon exposure to air, coal has a tendency to generate heat and increase in temperature unless it is well ventilated. If the temperature reached the ignition point of methane, spontaneous combustion will occur if sufficient methane is present.

Prior to the explosion in Moura No. 2, miners had warned of the signs of heating occurring, which include high levels of carbon monoxide and a tarry smell. The day before the explosion, one panel was sealed off as a result of a suspected heating, allowing methane levels to increase within that panel.

21 miners were underground when the first explosion occurred at 11:35pm on August 7th, 1994. Only 10 miners managed to return to the surface in the next half hour. Another larger explosion occurred approximately a day later, upon which the rescue attempt was abandonned and the mine was sealed at the surface.

The dangers of coal are not limited to getting it out of the ground, as can be seen in the Armi Tunnel stall.

Fix?

No formal communication of the danger occurred, relying upon the miners to keep each other informed.