The potentially deadly black lung disease has re-emerged in Australian coalmines for the first time in more than three decades.
Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lyneham confirmed in parliament on Tuesday that three cases of pneumoconiosis - or black lung - had been reported by the state's coal industry.
The disease, caused by long-term exposure to fine airborne coal dust in areas with poor ventilation, was thought to have been wiped out in Australia.
Since 1947, X-rays and lung tests have been used to detect early signs of pneumoconiosis.
Dr Lynham said the Monash University Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health will now review current medical assessment methodologies.
Mining union CFMEU Queensland district president Stephen Smyth was incensed by the disease's return, criticising mining companies for allowing health standards to deteriorate.
Mr Smyth warned the three cases could be the tip of the iceberg and feared the regulatory system set up to monitor and detect health issues for miners had been compromised.
"There is no way to judge the size of the problem affecting coalmine workers in Queensland, or for how long it has been an issue because the regulatory system has broken down and the medical specialists don't exist in Australia to deal with it," he said.
But Dr Lynham was confident the industry would work with the government to improve safety.
"I want to ensure that lung diseases such as pneumoconiosis are diagnosed early. More importantly, I want to prevent it occurring at all," he said.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said he understood mine workers would be concerned, but needed to have confidence in safety measures designed to protect them.
"It's important to know if there are any problems with the medical interpretation of X-rays or if there is non-compliance in mines, and any doubts or problems need to be addressed or removed quickly and decisively," he said.