September 15, 2015

Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry


ANG_Report_Vol_1_largeOn 31 August the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Board delivered the Governor of Victoria its findings into opportunities to minimise fire risk at the Anglesea Mine for the 2015/16 summer season.
 
The final report issued by the Board on August 31, 2015 concluded “that Alcoa has either implemented, or is in the process of implementing, a range of fire minimisation strategies that are sustainable, practical and effective.”
 
The only recommendation that the Board made was for Alcoa to publish a progress report by 15 September 2015, to be updated on 15 November 2015, detailing the steps it has taken since 31 July 2015 to implement its fire minimisation strategies.
 
Alcoa will ensure that the fire mitigation actions remain in place as long as is required including up to commencement of the future finalised mine closure and rehabilitation plan.
 
Background
Alcoa participated in the reopened Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry subject to Paragraph 11 of the Terms of Reference (26 May, 2015) which tasked the Board of Inquiry with investigating “sustainable, practical and effective options that could be undertaken by the mine operator to decrease the risk of fire arising from or impacting the Anglesea Mine for the 2015/2016 summer season, noting the impending closure of the mine on 31 August 2015”.
 
As part of the process, Alcoa made formal submissions to the Board highlighting the measures that Alcoa is implementing to decrease the risk of fire arising from or impacting the Anglesea mine.  Alcoa also participated in public hearings held in Anglesea on 30 and 31 July 2015 and in Melbourne on 6 August 2015.  As part of Alcoa’s submissions Alcoa produced a list of all recommendations that had been made in the various submissions (including by Mining One and Rod Incoll) complete with the proposed actions.
 
Submissions were also made by a number of other parties and regulators including Emergency Management Victoria, Worksafe Victoria, Country Fire Authority, Department of Earth Resources, and Rod Incoll – Mine Fire Expert.
 
The Board’s Conclusion
The final report issued by the Board of Inquiry on August 31, 2015 concluded “that Alcoa has either implemented, or is in the process of implementing, a range of fire minimisation strategies that are sustainable, practical and effective. These strategies, when fully implemented, should reduce the risk of fire at the Anglesea mine site so far as is reasonably practicable. The Board has not identified any options over and above those developed by Alcoa, in conjunction with the regulators, which the Board considers should be implemented at the mine site.
 
Given Anglesea is prone to bushfires, the Board advocates prudent assessment of rehabilitation options for the Anglesea mine site, so that the final decision does not unintentionally lead to increased fire risks for Anglesea.”
 
The Board’s Recommendation
The only recommendation that the Board of Inquiry made was “to recommend that Alcoa publish a progress report by 15 September 2015, to be updated on 15 November 2015, detailing the steps it has taken since 31 July 2015 to implement its fire minimisation strategies as set out in the list of the commitments it provided to the Board (Appendix F). These reports published on the Alcoa website will provide important information to the community and to regulators.”
 
In line with that recommendation, the status of each of the Alcoa actions effective September 15, 2015 is provided below.

Related Links


Alcoa response to recommendations
The only recommendation that the Board made was for Alcoa to publish a progress report by 15 September 2015, to be updated on 15 November 2015, detailing the steps it has taken since 31 July 2015 to implement its fire minimisation strategies. Click below to read the latest progress report.
  Download Anglesea Response


Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Report 2015/2016 Volume I - Anglesea Mine
The first volume of the 2015/16 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry report was tabled in the Victorian Parliament by the Premier, Daniel Andrews on 2 September 2015. Click below to read the full report.
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