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Gleision trial: Expert praises plans submitted by mine manager

By SWEPRMosalski  |  Posted: May 15, 2014

By Ruth Mosalski / ruth.mosalski@swwmedia.co.uk / @ruthmosalski

Gleision940

Mine manager Malcolm Fyfield and owners of MNS Mining Ltd deny all the charges

A MINING expert has praised plans submitted by Malcolm Fyfield in mines he ran before the Gleision colliery.

Four men died after a coal face leading to old mine workings were blown through.

Water then rushed through, drowning them.

The prosecution say mine manager Malcolm Fyfield had not submitted any formal plans for that work to take place.

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Under the 1979 regulations, a mine manager has to notify authorities if he wants to begin working towards disused mine workings.

If he believes there is no risk of any inrush of water or gas, he has to explain why.

If there is a risk of water, a Precaution Against Inrushes (PAI) scheme has to be created which has to be submitted to the Mine’s Inspector for approval.

The inspector of the Gleision Colliery, Tony Forster, has already told the jury no plan had been submitted by Fyfield, before he broke through into old workings in the Gleision Colliery.

When charges were detonated in the coal face on September 15, 2011, the prosecution say 650,000 gallons of water rushed through, drowning four men.

Prosecution witness, Mike Arthur, was shown a previous plan which Fyfield submitted when he ran the Darrell Colliery.

He told the jury “that’s exactly how I’d expect it to be”.

A PAI plan drawn up for the Nant Hir colliery, which Fyfield also ran, had previously been shown to the jury by Mr Forster, who praised its detail.

During his evidence over the last four days at Swansea Crown Court, Mr Forster was asked about illegal workings in the Gleision mine.

He said work in one area had been brought to his attention by an employee from the Coal Authority but said although they were outside of an area licensed by the Coal Authority, they were not illegal under his remit as an employee of the Health and Safety Executive.

During re-examination by Gregg Taylor QC, Mr Forster was asked: “If you thought there was an unsafe working or any contrary to the regulations, would you have stopped it?”

“I would have,” he replied.

Fyfield aged 58, from Caerhenllys, and MNS Mining Ltd deny manslaughter.

The trial continues.

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