A Very Black Day for Queensland Coal Mines

At around midday yesterday, a 27 year old man was crushed to death between two vehicles at an open-cut coal mine in Central Queensland.
The man was working with a colleague in the fuel bay area at the Saraji coal mine, near Dysart, which is operated by BHP Mitsubishi Alliance(BMA).
Apart from anything else, this tragic incident is just so incredibly sad and my heart goes out to the man’s family, friends and work colleagues for their unimaginable loss, as well as the first responders who attended at the scene.
According to the Mining and Energy Union (MEU), the whole Qld mining community are shocked and saddened by the incident.
Operations at the mine have been suspended, pending an investigation by the Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) and Union safety inspectors.
Without wishing to pre-empt this investigation, it is worth noting that this latest event follows the tragic death of 49 year old bulldozer operator, Allan Houston, at Dysart’s Saraji Mine on 31 December 2018.
Also worth noting is the recent suspension of operations at the Saraji Mine by RSHQ due to a number of serious safety concerns.
These concerns prompted acting regional mine inspector, Paul Brown, to issue multiple directives to the mine’s site senior executive (SSE) in October 2023.
The directives listed a number of major safety issues at the mine that SSE were instructed to address. The regulator also raised concerns over tractors working across slopes “near a body of water which had insufficient controls in place to manage the risk”.
“To be clear this is a fatal hazard” the MRE said.
The regulator also called out the “competencies of supervisors” at the mine, saying the SSE needed to develop an action plan to address “root cause or contributing factors involving less than adequate supervision”.
The directives carried a deadline of 31 October 2023.
There have now been 11 miners killed at work in Queensland Mines and Quarries since 2018.
This pattern of ongoing deaths and serious injuries is completely unacceptable.
Clearly there are still significant problems around mine safety and something substantive must be done this time to get to the bottom of it all.
For now, however, the community’s focus should be on comforting and supporting the family, the responders, the workmates, the friends, the supervisors and managers, all of whom are victims of this tragic event.
My thoughts and prayers are with them all.


Russia and Ukraine combined are a treasure trove for all the raw materials the West desperately needs to power its planned digital and green revolution.

The breakaway territories of the Donbass contain abundant reserves of ‘new economy’ materials including lithium and titanium.

Everything from smart cities, the digital economy, Internet of Things, AI, renewables and the surveillance state relies on the West gaining unrestricted access to, and control over, the worldwide supply of rare earths.

Russia in particular is home to one of the biggest and richest rare-earth deposits in the world.

It could well be the biggest, given the full extent of Russia’s reserves has never been properly mapped or exploited.

The Ural mountains alone contain some of the most diverse polymetallic resources on the planet, including manganese, copper, zinc, high-grade nickel and neodymium.

Another of its vast repository of ‘new economy’ minerals is Siberia, which also contains one of the three biggest reserves of Niobium globally.

Niobium is used in everything from jet engines, rockets, beams/girders for buildings and oil/gas pipelines, to particle accelerators, MRI scanners and NMR equipment.

Russia also supplies most of the elements needed for making the world’s semiconductor chips, particularly C4F6, Neon and Palladium.

Neon is almost 100 percent sourced from Russia’s steel plants, while the country also supplies 45 percent of palladium globally.

According to TECHCET, “Russia is a crucial source of C4F6 which are indispensable for advanced node logic device etching and advanced lithography processes for chip production”.

C4F6 and Palladium are used to make permanent magnets, a key component of modern weapon systems and other military technology.

They are also key components in the production of EVs.

80 per cent of the world’s sapphire substrates are supplied by Russia.

These are thin plates of artificial stone used in opto- and micro-electronics, including every processor in the world – AMD and Intel included.

Another key ingredient for the West’s military-industrial and transportation capabilities is antimony.  It is used in everything from armour-piercing bullets to night vision goggles.

According to traders, much of the world’s supply of the rare earths on which the military-industrial complex depends, come from Russia.

The prices of all these elements are now skyrocketing and we are seeing a growing worldwide shortage of materials like steel, titanium, nickel and aluminium.

These are all materials needed to fill orders of countless downstream industries from aviation to shipbuilding.

Without them, the world’s manufacturing base will grind to a halt.

Rare earths ARE the “new oil”.

That’s why instead of “oil wars”, we will see more and more “rare earth wars”.

Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution!

Stephen Andrew statement on the underground mine collapse at Gregory Crinum

Central Queensland’s mining community has suffered another cruel blow, with the tragic death of a mine worker at the Gregory Crinum mine near Emerald yesterday. The mine, which had been closed for 14 years, is in the process of having maintenance work done, in preparation for reopening. The accident occurred when a group of miners were carrying out roof support works underground, and a section of the wall and ceiling collapsed on them, trapping two of them for several hours.
Sadly, one of the trapped men, aged in his 60s, passed away at the scene, while the second was eventually freed and airlifted to Rockhampton with serious injuries. A third man was taken to Emerald Hospital for treatment.
Resources Safety Inspectors, together with Union inspectors, are carrying out investigations at the mine, to find out the cause of the collapse.
This is the ninth death we have had in a Queensland mine in just three years. It also follows the Moranbah mine explosion last year, which left five mine workers seriously injured.
Hopefully, this time, the inspectors can get to the bottom of what is going on to cause all these tragic and avoidable deaths and injuries in our mines.
For now, my thoughts are with all the friends, family and co-workers of these men, especially the one who tragically lost his life in this incident.
I also pay tribute to all the tens of thousands of mine workers throughout Central Queensland, who I know will be grieving the loss of another ‘brother’.
My thoughts are also with you and your families at this sad time.

HOLD on to your sunnies, radical green bureaucrats, backed by both major parties are planning a major take-down of tourism and recreational fishers in regional communities. And it doesn’t stop there. Both the Federal LNP government and State Labor government were laying the groundwork for restrictive new laws and regulations across a range of new groups, including Queensland’s $4.6 billion tourism industry.

According to the draft review of reef sustainability, regional Queenslanders and industries are in for a period of ‘potentially major and uncertain changes’. First, they came for our farmers and most people said nothing. Then they came for our miners and most people said nothing. Now it looks like anyone living outside the south-east corner is in for a hiding and we’re not hearing anything about it.

The new draft “Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan Review”, released last month, introduces a ‘sector-wide’ program of change that sets out new objectives aimed at  “protecting the Great Barrier Reef”. Any regional Queenslander who wants a job or any kind of lifestyle in the future needs to read the draft review.

According to some of the detail of this document, green bureaucrats are planning a fairly radical transformation of regional towns and communities over the next couple of decades. The main areas of human activity targeted under the new plan include:

  • Recreational fishing
  • Commercial fishing
  • Tourism – both land-based and water-based
  • Indigenous groups
  • Research activities
  • Urban townships
  • Coastal housing and infrastructure
  • Beach uses
  • Agriculture
  • Industrial activities
  • Shipping and ports
  • Recreational users of the reef, including tourists

The new plan, which calls for a further ‘ramping up’ of existing Reef Laws on farmers and commercial fishing, also proposes an extension of restrictions across a whole range of other ‘human-based activities’ – both recreational and commercial. The draft, which is just the first of a series of five-year plans to be released between now and 2050, will have an enormous negative impact on communities and businesses in the region, particularly those that heavily rely on reef tourism, or tourism-related businesses, to earn a living.

Proposals outlined in the draft paper will intensify the drive to lock up more and more areas of bushland in Central and North Queensland. This will greatly reduce people’s access to, and enjoyment of our beautiful natural hinterland. Today, more than 682,772 hectares of land have been given up by private landholders to the State government under its Nature Refuge Agreements Scheme. This land has been re-designated as “protected zones” and closed off permanently from the public.

The draft review calls for stricter laws around coastal infrastructure, planning, development and land use, as well as suggestions for measures that will  ‘induce behaviour change’ within regional communities. Groups singled out in the new Reef Plan, include business, tourism, industry, mining, farmers, Indigenous communities, commercial and recreational fishers, private homeowners, as well as commercial and recreational boat operators.

They are planning to restrict recreational fishing as well as 4-wheel driving on beaches. The plan proposes a new 4-wheel drive permit system, strict speed limits, and restricted beach access points. These bureaucrats are making decisions and laying down edicts that undermine people’s lives and livelihoods. There has been no transparency from either of the major parties around some of these changes.  Some of the changes here are pretty radical, and yet there has been almost no widespread public discussion or debate around the likely costs or consequences to the community of all this.

I’m calling on all Queenslanders to have their say on the Draft Plan before public consultation closes at the end of this month.


read the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan Public Consultation Draft

Submit your feedback by 11.59pm AEST Wednesday 30 September 2020.



While the Queensland Government is busy tilting at windmills and pouring money into “green” energy, it is failing to take advantage of a gold mine in royalties right under its nose. Mount Morgan’s gold mine could pull Queensland and Australia out of debt for a third time as the State looks for a post-COVID economic recovery.

Labor’s Minister for Mines and Energy yesterday found the time to spruik the 15 ongoing jobs to come from a billion dollar wind farm investment, but he couldn’t find the time for a meeting about Mount Morgan. I have been urgently seeking State Government support for fixing the environmental hangover from previous mines while kickstarting a new era for Mount Morgan and Queensland.

Private enterprise is already prepared to stump up $50 million for the first stage of fixing environmental issues caused by past mining practices and we desperately need the State Government to match that commitment. In the process of restarting production of gold in one of the most historic mines in Australia, the current lease-holders can fix a looming environmental disaster. The Government’s approach to handling the toxic waste to date has only served to concentrate it and kick the can down the road. It really is incumbent on the government to finally fix the problem caused by the very mining practices that dragged Queensland out of debt in the past. As yet, the Minister for Mining in Queensland has not agreed to a meeting to discuss the proposal.

Re-opening the mine site for processing gold would create direct and indirect jobs in the town but it would also be a tremendous boost to tourism in the region and across Queensland. There is a big difference between visiting an historic gold mine and visiting an historic gold mine that is still in operation. Mount Morgan has so much to offer tourists already but not many people are aware of the history and the important role the town has played in creating the country we see today. It’s fair to say Mount Morgan could become a key destination for tourism in Queensland but it can’t happen if the State Government doesn’t realise the potential.

The economic benefits for the State could be substantial and that was exactly what is needed in a post-COVID economy. COVID-19 has dealt a devastating blow to our economy and if we are going to get back on track we need to focus on the things that will KickStart Queensland with new and expanding industry and job creation wherever possible. The Queensland Government stands to gain an enormous amount from royalties they will receive from every ounce of gold coming out of the mine and there is a lot of gold left in Mount Morgan.

When Queensland’s sudden border closure locks out miners and puts Queensland mines in danger of having to close, you’ve got to wonder if it simply wasn’t thought through or if it was a deliberate swipe at the mining industry. If key workers can’t go to work (or be replaced at short notice), no one can go to work. We know Labor is planning for the closure of coal mines so it’s a valid question to ask. It’s not like the Labor Party is against NSW FIFO workers coming into Queensland to work. After all, it was Labor that issued the approval for Bowen Basin coal mines to employ a 100% FIFO workforce in the first place.

Closing Queensland’s border to key mineworkers at such short notice could have a devastating impact on the State’s economy. And yet tonight’s closure of Queensland’s border looks set to strand FIFO mine workers from interstate. If so, this would be a massive blow to Queensland’s mining industry, which has been widely touted as Queensland’s best hope for a fast economic recovery Post-COVID.

We need urgent clarity from the Queensland Government on this issue. The mining industry is heavily reliant on FIFO workers and if hundreds of these workers are to be barred from entering Queensland it is going to make it very difficult for some of them to operate. Mining, along with agriculture, is crucial to Queensland’s economy, and the government should be doing everything possible to protect it. Arbitrary actions like this border closure that imposes blanket restrictions with almost no notice, could seriously jeopardise the industry’s viability.

The Australian Minerals Council, who represents the nation’s largest mining enterprises, also criticised the move. According to the AMC, the suddenness of the border closure notice had given Queensland miners no time to work out how they will staff their mines properly without the large number of FIFO workers they normally employ.

The Queensland mining sector had one of the best Covid-19 safety frameworks in the country. Their record for keeping mine workers, their families and local communities safe has been exemplary. That’s why I’m calling on the Premier to immediately issue an exemption for FIFO mine workers or risk doing enormous damage to the sector – a sector that has contributed huge amounts of money in royalties to the Queensland Treasury over recent years.

ALMOST a million Australians are unemployed but the Queensland government can’t rouse itself to fast-track approving the only potential large-scale job creation in Australia: new Queensland mines. Official June figures, released today, show the highest jobless percentage (7.4 per cent) since recorded statistics began In 1998. The 992,000 people now unemployed was an increase of 69,000 on figures for May.

Now is the time to KickStart the Queensland economy by taking advantage of our best performing industries. Any government that refuses to fast-track large-scale jobs, in the worst recession in a century, is just suicidal. By refusing to extend coal-mining in Queensland, the Labor government is effectively throwing extra hundreds of miners onto the dole.

Several Central and North Queensland coal mines are not at peak production.  And still, whenever they have to sign the last authorisation for more coal mines, paralysis sets in. Their hands shake, and they just can’t bring themselves to do it.

The State Department has confirmed there are six coal mine applications, most listed for several years, scheduled to employ as many as 10,000 people. That kind of large scale job creation is exactly what we need and we are very fortunate, in Queensland, to have the means to do it. This is urgent. The government has to authorise these new mines. And it has to do it soon.


THE Great Barrier Reef narrative desperately needs a reality check to give taxpayers and tourist workers a fair deal. Dodgy science and fake news on the reef were costing taxpayers and tourism operators billions of dollars for the sake of perpetuating an ideological myth.

The reef has been used as a weapon in the extremists’ war against capitalism, democracy and the Australian way of life. They say truth is the first casualty of war and that certainly seems to be the case as highly dubious evidence has been used to attack farmers, industry, and everything socialists hate. That narrative – that mining and farmers have killed the reef – is translating to fewer visitors from interstate and overseas.

I met with leading reef expert, Dr Peter Ridd, in Mackay to discuss what was needed for the future of the reef and North Queensland. Dr Ridd identified two key things we needed to change regarding the reef.

“We need to get the science evidence checked and we need to start telling the people in the south-east corner (of Queensland) that not everything that you’ve heard about the state of the reef is true,” he said. “We’re spending a whole lot of money supposedly on the basis that the reef is badly damaged when all the evidence would seem to indicate that it’s not. I’m just asking for a little bit of money just to check some of that science and also to get the message out to the people in the south-east that in fact the reef is in really good shape. There’s all these people down there who think it’s completely damaged when it’s not. It’s in way better condition (than that), probably in excellent condition.”

Both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have rejected my call to withdraw the billions of taxpayer dollars being used to fight an ideological war against farmers. Both major parties at both levels of government are throwing money at the reef and in the war against farmers because they think it will win votes in the capital cities. But those billions of dollars won’t make any real difference to the reef. They will just send farmers and regional Queensland broke.

At a time when we need to get our economy going again, the last thing we want to see is taxpayer money being used to kill off our most productive industries in mining and agriculture.

AFTER a decade saying climate change was the greatest danger to the reef to justify killing coal, the Queensland Labor government now focuses on farm run-off to justify attacks on farmers.

I recently called on both the Premier and the Prime Minister to withdraw funds from the Reef 2050 Water Quality program and use the money to support the farmers trying to rebuild the Queensland economy. I was surprised to get a letter from the Premier saying run-off was one of the greatest threats to the reef when we have been told for years the biggest threats all came from climate change caused by coal mining, including warmer seas, higher sea levels, acidic oceans, and (first more and then fewer, but more intense) cyclones. They have changed the scientific “consensus” story because they need to pivot and start attacking a different part of the community.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, in her letter rejecting calls to redirect Reef 2050 funding, said the “Queensland Government accepts the established scientific consensus that land run-off is one of the greatest threats to the GBR”. But last week in Mackay, I met with leading reef scientist, Dr Peter Ridd, who not only rejected the notion of science by consensus but also refuted claims about run-off affecting the reef.

“My group took more measurements of sediment on the reef than any other group, put together, it does not get out to the reef, except for once or twice every decade or so,” Dr Ridd said. “They claim that the fertiliser causes Crown of Thorns starfish outbreaks, but a lot of this evidence is highly dubious. The most distant reefs, which are the Swains Reefs, which are a couple of hundred kilometres off here, that’s the area where there has been the most persistent Crown of Thorns starfish outbreak yet it’s the furthest away from the affected run-off. And in Western Australia, where there is no agriculture, there are Crown of Thorns outbreaks. So this idea that the run-off is killing the reef is just completely ridiculous and, actually, when you look at the data, the coral growth rates have not changed in the last 400 years. We know that because coral grows like tree rings and you can drill holes in them and you can go back with these really great big corals you can find out what they were doing many hundreds of years ago. There has been no change in growth rates since agriculture started on this coast. If farmers were putting all this poison into the water, the growth rate should reduce. They’re not reducing.”

By diverting money to fight an ideological war against a problem that doesn’t exist, the focus was shifted from the real environmental threats faced by farmers and the wider community. The major parties, at both levels of government, are spending taxpayer money on this ideological attack on farmers when they could be funding the fight against real environmental threats such as Giant Rat’s Tail Grass and lantana.

We have a wide variety of feral animals and noxious weeds having a direct impact on the environment, on farmers, production, and our economy, but it seems the socialist agenda of demonising farmers is the vote winner in the south-east corner. The majority of the population and votes is in the south-east corner where people are very insulated from the real world and the economies that drive the state. But if, heaven forbid, the socialist agenda was ultimately successful, there would be no mining royalties to build their tunnels, there would be no food on their tables, and there would be no clothes in their walk-in-robes.

Fast-tracking Central Queensland coal mines is the quickest and easiest way for Australia to fight its way out of the recession. The Federal Government conceded last week that Australia had entered its first recession in 29 years, on the back of a summer of bushfires and the pandemic shutdown.

There’s only one way to create large-scale employment in this recession, and that’s to open up big new coal mines at the double. We need development on steroids, and that means immediately approving those six stalled mine applications in the Galilee Basin.

It also means annihilating all those bogus bureaucratic barriers that have delayed approvals by as much as eight years.  Any left-wing activists who stand in the way of these thousands of jobs must be shown to be boulders in the road to economic progress.

Official Gross Domestic Product figures released last week show that Australia’s Economy shrank by 0.3 per cent in the March Quarter. GDP is the total value of all goods and services Australia produces. Queenslanders don’t need to hear the official figures to know that the country is in recession. We already have locally some of the highest employment in Australia. Bushfires, drought and COVID-19 were the main causes, other than mine layoffs over recent years. But some export mineral prices are right at the top of the cycle. Failure to act now to open up these mines would be economic betrayal.

There are two key parts to the economy: export and domestic. One Nation is already taking the State Government to the High Court, to open up borders with the rest of Australia. And that will take care of the domestic part of our economy – however late. Opening up mines will take care of exports. Pauline Hanson seems to be the only leader in Australia with a handle on what local developments mean to jobs.