Black lung cases cause alarm
The twentieth case of black lung in Queensland has been confirmed.
A worker from the Moranbah North Colliery underground mine has been diagnosed this week, just over a week after the second most recent case, a worker from an underground coal mine in central Queensland.
The CFMEU says the two cases show the industry must provide compensation and support to the workers and their families.
CFMEU mining and energy district president Stephen Smyth said the mining industry should take responsibility.
“The Black Lung crisis is escalating,” Smyth said.
“We’ve now reached 20 victims of the disease – and this number will certainly grow in coming months.”
“With more than 29,000 coal miners in this state alone, there are possibly thousands more cases.”
The union has proposed a levy of 10 cent per tonne of coal produced in Queensland to assist black lung victims.
“This levy represents a tiny fraction of the profits mining giants make each year from coal production,” Smyth said.
“It’s the least they can do to alleviate some of the pain they’ve caused their workers and victims of the disease.”
Queensland’s coal dust limit is 3mg per m3 of air, while in NSW the acceptable limit is 2.5mg/m3 of air.
The Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis select committee has been holding hearings throughout Queensland into the resurgence of black lung in Australia.
But Mr Smyth action must be taken now to enforce tougher dust levels.
“We need stronger laws and harsher penalties to reduce legal dust levels in the mines. This is the only way to prevent more cases of the disease emerging in the future,” he said.
The most recent cases have been referred to the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines.