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Hazelwood mine owners to face court

Firefighters battling a blaze at the Hazelwood open cut coal mine near Morwell, Victoria, on March 5, 2014. AAP Image/Country Fire Authority

Firefighters battling a blaze at the Hazelwood open cut coal mine near Morwell, Victoria, on March 5, 2014. AAP Image/Country Fire Authority

Melbourne [AAP]

Operators of Victoria’s Hazelwood mine are expected to face court over a 2014 blaze that burned in the open-cut mine for 45 days, shrouding Morwell in smoke and ash.

Hazelwood Power Corporation Pty Ltd, owned by GDF Suez, is facing five counts laid by WorkSafe Victoria of failing to maintain and safe workplace and five counts of failing to ensure people other than its employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

The company is expected to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.

The fire ignited on February 9, when two bushfires in nearby farming country spread to brown coal in the mine.

Some residents fled the town after the government advised vulnerable people to evacuate.

The Victorian government, which last year reopened the inquiry into the blaze, earlier said the charges were a step in the right direction to help the community recover from the disaster.


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