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HomeMining Industry News Hazelwood owner to stand trial over mine blaze

Hazelwood owner to stand trial over mine blaze

Friday 30th of June 2017 08:31:38 AM

The owner of the Hazelwood coal mine has been committed to stand trial over the mine fire which covered parts of south-east Victoria in thick smoke in 2014.

Hazelwood Power Corporation (HPC) yesterday pleaded not guilty after an eight-day committal hearing in Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court to 10 Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) charges relating to the blaze in Morwell, east of Melbourne.

Hazelwood fire

The fire, which started on February 9, 2014, burned inside the mine for 45 days and smothered Morwell and surrounding towns in acrid smoke and ash, forcing the evacuation of residents.

HPC is accused of breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including five charges for failing to provide a safe workplace, and five charges for failing to ensure the public was not exposed to risks.

VWA has accused the operator of exposing workers and the community to smoke, carbon monoxide and fine particles; failing to have a reticulated fire water pipe system on the mine's northern wall; failing to slash vegetation; and failing to begin wetting down the northern batters on a day of extreme fire danger.

The matter has been referred to the Victorian County Court for trial, where a directions hearing has been set for next month in Melbourne.


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