Blaze shuts Xstrata mine

[] — A FIRE has caused Australia’s Blakefield South coal mine in New South Wales state to shut down, owner Xstrata said.

No miners were trapped underground after the blaze erupted on Wednesday afternoon and no injuries were reported, the company said.

The mine has capacity to yield 7.5 million tonnes of steaming coal a year.

Xstrata said it understood the fire is located behind the operation’s longwall and is continuing to burn at this time.

The cause of the fire was not yet known, according to the company.

“Site based emergency management systems were immediately enacted once the incident was identified, with all employees working underground at the time removed safely from the mine and accounted for,” Xstrata said.

“Production at the mine has ceased and there are no persons underground,” it said.