Queensland's premier has backed her minister's decision to name and shame two mining companies for failing to properly monitor dust levels, but the government is stil facing criticism for not responding to a report on Black Lung disease.
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham identified Glencore and Anglo in parliament, warning they risked severe penalties for failing to meet monitoring obligations designed to protect workers from dust-related diseases such as black lung.
Dr Lynham warned the Mines Inspectorate could demand full, independent safety audits or opt to prosecute, or even close, Glencore's Oaky North and Oaky No.1 mines and Anglo's Moranbah North and Grosvenor sites.
"Based on our knowledge of diseases caused by coal dust, it is my view that any failure to comply reflects a gross disregard of an operator's obligations to protect their workforce," he told parliament on Thursday night.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Friday backed her minister, saying the protection of workers was "paramount".
"The mines have to comply with the legislation and the law of the state, and we will not accept excessive dust levels," she said.
"So they better fix it up or they will face prosecution under the law."
Glencore said it was "very disappointed" in itself, and its dust monitoring and reporting failures have been rectified.
An investigation into the matter has also been launched.
Glencore briefed workers at its two mines on Friday morning, with further briefings expected after a meeting between the company and the Mines Inspectorate at 10am (AEST).
"We will work with the Queensland Mines Inspectorate to ensure this won't happen again," the company said in a statement.
It came after Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller accused her own government of failing to act promptly on a report about coal workers' pneumoconiosis, or black lung.
Ms Miller, who chairs the Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis Select Committee that produced the report, said it was introduced in May, found at least 23 workers had been diagnosed since its "re-emergence", and made 68 recommendations.
"This government has still not responded to the report ... we call on the government to act immediately and adopt the Black Lung report," she said in a statement on Thursday.
Opposition leader Tim Nicholls also criticised the government for not yet responding to the report.
"Operators who breach their license to operate, who breach their obligations, who imperil their workers' health must be shut down," he said on Friday.
"I would simply urge the government to ensure they are doing everything they can to address this important issue for coal works in Queensland."
Mines inspectors are due to meet with Anglo next week.