David Routledge with his grandchildren.
David Routledge with his grandchildren.

Community to celebrate life of miner tragically killed

THE community is invited to celebrate the life of David Routledge, who died in last week's mine tragedy at Middlemount, during a public ceremony at the Blackbutt cemetery on Monday, July 8 at 2pm.

The 55 year old, who has been living in South Mackay, was born in Nanango and grew up in the small South Burnett town of Blackbutt.

Nanango MP and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington this week said the thoughts of the Blackbutt and Nanango community were with Mr Routledge's family, friends and colleagues.

"This is just an absolute tragedy," Ms Frecklington said.

"There are many Routledges around my area and I know that my area, as a coal mining area, has been deeply affected by this tragedy."

She has now called on the the Palaszczuk Government to prioritise the workplace health and safety of all miners across the state, with last week's fatality marking the third death in six months in a Queensland coal mine.


Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, Parliament House, Brisbane. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. Photographer: Liam Kidston Liam Kidston

"We need to let the process take its course, but we also need to make sure mine safety is at the top of the Palaszczuk Government's agenda when it comes to looking into this," Ms Frecklington said.

"We need to ensure an investigation into these individual cases happen and then we need to see the outcome of those investigations."

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham last week said the government would do everything it could to "try to prevent another tragedy".

"My office is working with the Mines Inspectorate and the department to determine the best means by which we can do that," Dr Lynham said.

Mining operations at Middlemount Mine remain suspended as the Queensland Mines Inspectorate continues its investigation.

In a statement on Thursday, Middlemount Coal chief executive Gerrie Jordaan said it was fully cooperating with the process.

"The Queensland Mines Inspectorate issued a directive on Friday, June 28 requiring the preservation of the incident scene and outlining terms that need to be complied with before mining operations can resume," Mr Jordaan said.

"In response to the directive, Middlemount Mine developed a limited return-to-work plan to address the terms of the directive and recommence limited, non-mining operations.

"This plan was approved by the Inspectorate and includes essential services, coal handling and preparation activities, and equipment maintenance."

Mr Jordaan confirmed some of its workforce returned to site this week to complete general tasks as allowed by the Queensland Mines Inspectorate directive.

"Representatives from our employee assistance program are also on site and in camp to provide confidential counselling services," he said.

Mining operations at Middlemount will remain suspended until the Queensland Mines Inspectorate gives approval to re-start.