Anglo American suspends operations at Australian coal mine after fatality

Anglo American suspends operations at Australian coal mine after fatality
FILE PHOTO: The Anglo American logo is seen in Rusternburg October 5, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo -
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Anglo American said on Thursday it has suspended operations at its Moranbah North coking coal mine in Australia after one worker died and several were injured on Wednesday.

The London-listed miner said an investigation was underway into the underground accident between a personnel carrier and a grader. The driver of the grader was taken by ambulance to hospital and later died, it said.

Four other employees were helicoptered to hospitals in the towns of Mackay and Rockhampton and have since been released, it said, adding that production remained suspended while an investigation was conducted.

"We are devastated by the tragic loss of one of our employees in the incident that occurred yesterday at Moranbah North," Glen Britton, Anglo American's executive head of underground operations, said in a statement.

"We are working with the relevant authorities to understand how this incident occurred."

The Moranbah North mine in northern Queensland state last year produced about 7.68 million tonnes of coking coal, used in steel making, according to consultancy AME Group in Sydney.

Chinese coking coal prices rose nearly 3 percent on Thursday morning, following a 2 percent hike overnight, as investors worry about tight supply.

Analysts from Mysteel consultancy estimated the accident could lead to the loss of 1.2 million tonnes of coking coal output, which comes in a balanced market and as Chinese steel mills start to rebuild stocks after the Lunar New Year.

The incident is the second disruption to Australian coking coal exports after a derailment in New South Wales state earlier this month disrupted shipments from the Hunter Valley.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton in MELBOURNE. Additional reporting by Muyu Xu in BEIJING; editing by Richard Pullin)

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