Blasting at BMA’s Saraji and Peak Downs coal mines in Queensland has been put on hold by the Queensland Mines Inspectorate following two incidents on March 6 when miners were exposed to nitrogen oxide gas as a result of blasting.


Twenty-four miners were taken to hospital following the blast, eight of whom were admitted suffering from headaches and respiratory symptoms.


Inspectors from the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation are investigating the incidents.


The two coal mines are owned and operated by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), Australia's largest coal producer and exporter.


A meeting is to be held later this week of industry representatives, unions and explosives suppliers to discuss fume emissions in the mining industry and form a steering group to develop guidelines for new shot firing for use by the entire industry.