In favour of mountain top mining

A New Zealand coal mining company ignored 21 warnings that methane gas had accumulated to dangerous levels before an underground explosion killed 29 workers two years ago, an investigation concluded.

The official report released on Monday after eleven weeks of hearings on the disaster found broad safety problems in New Zealand workplaces and said the Pike River Coal company was exposing miners to unacceptable risks as it strove to meet financial targets.

That\’s why I support mountain top removal mining. Blow the top off the fucker then operate it as a strip mine.

This underground shit is just too dangerous.

And yes, this does mean that I regard those who argue against mountain top removal as putting the interests of the birds and the bees above the lives of humans.

9 thoughts on “In favour of mountain top mining”

  1. Spoken like someone who hasn’t got the slightest clue what the fuck he is talking about. Underground coal mining is perfectly safe if appropriate precautions are observed. There is no reason why an event such as Pike River should occur if basic safeguards are put in place, safeguards that make Australian coal mining safer than driving to the mine before or after a shift. If I thought for one minute that I had a disproportionate chance of snuffing it when I go underground, then I wouldn’t go, but I do not have such concerns because reality backs up my confidence. The problem with Pike River was that safety precautions that we take for granted in Australia were either not in place, ignored or bypassed.

  2. “safeguards that make Australian coal mining safer than driving to the mine before or after a shift”: that was what I was told on my first day of employment on a petrochemical plant – you’re safer here for a whole shift than on your commute to and from work.

  3. you’re safer here for a whole shift than on your commute to and from work

    True right up the point you enter a facility managed and maintained by Nigerians…

  4. The other problem with Pike River is that the environmental regulations made the mine more inaccessible. Only one shaft was allowed, and access had to come from the other side of the mountain and up from underneath. Which made ventilation even harder. It still should have been better managed by the company, and safeguards in place … but the environmentalists who wanted to preserve a vista which nobody sees should have accepted some of the blame too.

  5. I’m wondering how much explosive would Tim suggest is required for blowing the top off an average sized mountain to be able to strip mine ? Could use nukes i suppose……………………

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    DocBud – “Spoken like someone who hasn’t got the slightest clue what the fuck he is talking about. Underground coal mining is perfectly safe if appropriate precautions are observed.”

    So but no. It is true that this should never have happened. It is criminal to allow a build up of methane in a mine. But underground mining is an inherently dangerous practice. The fact that driving a car is too is irrelevant. The only real comparison should be between the deep shaft and the open pit. Open pit mining is almost always, everywhere, safer. Not just because of methane but because of collapses, mistakes, problems with black lung and so on. Deaths in coal mines is inherently political as it relates directly to how much the government gives a damn, but I don’t know of anywhere where open cut mines are even close to as dangerous as deep cut mines are.

  7. What SMfS says. Mining is safe in Australia partly because it’s well-regulated, but mostly because all brown coal and most black coal mines are open cut.

  8. No, SMFS, underground coal mining is not an inherently dangerous practice, it is a potentially hazardous practice but all the hazards can be controlled. We know how to manage gas (which can also be a problem in opencuts), control the strata (people get killed by highwall collapses), working in confined spaces, vehicle/people interaction (a particular problem with the large trucks on opencuts) and dust.

    There are plenty of underground coal mines in NSW and QLD, john b, and they generally have very impressive safety records. As I said above, I wouldn’t be heading underground if I thought I had a disproportionate likelihood of being killed or maimed, but MrsBud and I can be confident that when I go underground the odds are heavily in my favour that I shall emerge unscathed, if not a little grubby.

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