A new agreement between Queensland and India aims to improve mining safety.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between India’s Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Australian Safety in Mines, Testing and Research Station (SIMTARS) commits them to collaborating on a range of activities related to mine safety.

The MOU was signed in India by Mr Utpal Saha, Director General Mines Safety (DGMS), and Mr Gitesh Agarwal, Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner – India.

Speaking after the signing, Mr Agarwal said both countries would benefit from the exchange of knowledge and experiences.

‘Through the agreement, the groups will explore opportunities to share technical knowledge about the occupational safety, health and welfare of miners,’ he said.

‘They will work together to establish a risk-based safety-management system in India, and SIMTARS will train key personnel from DGMS, the mining industry and academia in best practice.

‘SIMTARS personnel will also gain valuable experiences as they share expertise across the industry in India.

‘Bringing these two agencies together is an important achievement for TIQ, and I hope that the outcomes will impact positively on the health and safety of many workers,’ he said.

DGMS is responsible for granting mining permits and enforcing safety legislation, and has made steady progress in reducing the number of mining accidents in India. However, illegal mining operations are not uncommon, and mining accidents caused 377 worker deaths in India between 2015 and 2017.

Queensland’s SIMTARS is a world-leading centre for mining safety and health research, delivering complementary scientific, engineering and training services nationally and internationally.

Australia pioneered risk-based safety-management plans for the mining sector using hazard identification and risk assessment. Mining sectors in the USA, South Africa, Germany and Russia use risk-based safety management.

The memorandum of understanding was signed on 16 January and will remain in place for 3 years.

Queensland continues to deepen its engagement with India as an initiative of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

The Queensland-India Trade and Investment Strategy 2018–2023 was released in late 2018.