Sue Tennant and grandchildren Max and Emerson Tennant. The children's parents are both mine workers. Picture: Daryl Wright
Sue Tennant and grandchildren Max and Emerson Tennant. The children's parents are both mine workers. Picture: Daryl Wright

‘Worst nightmare’: Fear grips Moranbah mining families

WORRY washes over Moranbah grandmother Sue Tennant every day when her son leaves for work at the mines.

Ms Tennant's son works as an electrician at Carborough Downs Mine just outside Moranbah - the same site where Ipswich father Brad Duxbury died on November 25.

She said the explosion at Grosvenor Mine was the worst nightmare of every mining family who called Moranbah home.

Ms Tennant's son had only left home for work minutes before news of the tragedy broke.

"I still had that sick feeling in my stomach, but not like I would have if he was on day shift," she said. "It is just something you always dread hearing because you know somewhere along the line you're going to know somebody that knows one of the families."

Ms Tennant begged her son not to return to the mines six years ago after a minor injury at work.

"There's always that fear that something could go wrong," she said.

"I do feel worried every time he goes to work. If he was an electrician on the coast there would not be those hazards that are out here."

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker was in a Skype meeting when she found out about the explosion.

"I got a call, which I couldn't take, and the number called again and again and I then knew that something really was quite urgent, so I excused myself," she said.

"My residence is in the flight path for when the planes come in - last night was quite eerie to hear.

"Normally when there's an accident, the wider community hears the RACQ helicopter.

"Last night it was not just the helicopter, it was the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the planes."

Cr Baker said her initial reaction was sadness and shock.

She said mining tragedies caused a ripple effect in tight-knit communities like her's.

"In this day and age, to have continual accidents in the industry is concerning," she said.

"Our hearts and minds at this time are with the injured underground miners, their families and crew members."

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said the fallout from the horrific mine explosion would be felt across the region.

"The resources sector actually supplies a huge underpinning of our economy," he said.

"They pay a huge amount of attention to safety, and rightly so, so when something like this happens, it really does tear at the heart strings of the whole community. It is a reminder of the sector they work in … has an inherent risk every day."