Tasmanian journalist Wes Young writes:

A closed meeting of the West Tamar Council debated safety concerns over seismic activity in the area just two months before the Beaconsfield mine collapsed last week, sources have revealed.

The safety issues were canvassed during an in-camera discussion at the February council meeting, attended by local MP Michael Polley and mine manager Matthew Gill. (Mayor Barry Easther was absent).

The discussion was held in secret to avoid negative publicity and any adverse impact on property prices, and was prompted after a resident, Mick Wain, raised concerns that increased seismic activity was creating large cracks in the walls of his house just off Beaconsfield’s main street.

According to one source present at the meeting, mine manager Matthew Gill addressed the council and confirmed the mine was responsible for the seismic activity because of a change in blasting techniques. The mine agreed to initiate a maintenance program to repair houses and buildings damaged by the mine.

Sources say Gill also told the meeting that workers were becoming concerned about going into the mine because of the increased seismic activity, and councillors raised concerns over a seismic event from the 28th of January that registered 1.6 on the Richter scale and had its epicentre in Beaconsfield.

The council resolved to continue monitoring seismic activity and Crikey understands that some councillors are now concerned that details of the discussion will emerge in any Coronial Inquiry into how the Beaconsfield collapse occurred.

Peter Fray

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