WHITEHAVEN Coal has endured a horror run at its established mining operations in Narrabri and Werris Creek.
On Tuesday, a stockpile of coal spontaneously combusted at the Narrabri underground mine, according to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
Mine staff worked to contain and separate the smouldering coal, and managed to extinguish the fire later that day.
But the next day, NSW Fire and Rescue had to be called out after another fire broke out, this time among coal being transported in a rail wagon.
A third fire, again caused by spontaneous combustion, occurred the same day in an above-ground stockpile at the mine site.
“The EPA is not aware of any environmental impacts as a result of the incidents, but will continue to monitor activities closely,” a spokesperson for the regulator said.
“EPA officers will meet with the mine’s staff to discuss their activities going forward, and any improvements that may need to be made to their loading and handling procedures to reduce and manage the risk of spontaneous combustion.”
Meanwhile, the miner has had to deploy two large-scale evaporators at its Werris Creek mine after striking water.
Residents have reported seeing jets of water emanating from the site as workers attempted to disperse the water flooding the pit.
“The evaporators work by spraying excess water as a mist into the air,” the EPA spokesperson said.
“This promotes evaporation, and any mist that does not evaporate falls back onto the mine site, helping to reduce impacts from coalmine dust.”
Local farmers struggling in the drought have approached the company seeking to use the water for irrigation purposes.
“The EPA is considering the proposal and will advise how and if the water can be used without causing environmental impacts,” the spokesperson said.
Whitehaven Coal was approached by The Leader, but declined to comment on the incidents.