West Wallsend Colliery

West Wallsend Colliery is situated south of Killingworth near Lake Macquarie in the Newcastle Coalfield, (Glencore, 2014o) and includes leases CCL 718, CCL 725 and ML 1451 (Glencore, 2014o). West Wallsend Colliery is operated by Oceanic Coal Australia Limited (OCAL) on behalf of Macquarie Coal Joint Venture (MCJV). OCAL is the majority shareholder in MCJV with 70% ownership, with co-owners being Marubeni Coal Pty Ltd, OCAL Macquarie Pty Ltd and JFE Mineral (Australia) Pty Ltd (which also owns OCAL Macquarie Pty Ltd and is wholly owned by Glencore plc, previously Xstrata Coal (Australia) Pty Ltd) (Glencore, 2014o, 2014n). The current mining area includes the previously described Lachlan and Wakefield project areas (Glencore, 2014p). West Wallsend Colliery commenced in 1969, with Coal and Allied Industries Ltd developing a bord-and-pillar operation to extract the Borehole and Young Wallsend coal seams. In 1989, a longwall unit was installed to extract the Borehole coal seam and new longwall mining equipment was installed in 1997 to operate in a thicker seam section.

Majority ownership of West Wallsend has changed several times since establishment, although it has been owned by Xstrata since 2002 who were taken over by Glencore plc in 2013 (Glencore, 2014q). The current project life has been approved to 2027 (15 years from Project Approval sign off in 2012) under the continued operations plan (Department of Planning and Infrastructure, 2012, p. 26). The underground mining project may produce up to 5.5 Mt/year of ROM coal (Department of Planning and Infrastructure, 2012, p. 3, p. 26) using longwall mining methods (Glencore, 2014q, 2014o, p. 4).

Coal is transferred into a Bradford Breaker (which removes impurities from the raw coal), conveyed to a 200 tonne load-out bin and loaded into haul trucks, then transported to the Macquarie Coal Preparation Plant (MCPP) for processing. From there it is conveyed to a product stockpile and then to a rail load-out facility (Glencore, 2014q). Coal is screened and separated according to size and washed. Estimated measured coal resources as at 31 December 2013 were 65 Mt, and indicated coal resources were 25 Mt (no inferred coal resources stated) (GlencoreXstrata, 2014, p. 50).

Most product coal is transported to the Port of Newcastle for export, with the remainder being sold to the domestic market for coking. The mine supplies both thermal and semi-soft coking coal products, principally to Asian utilities and steel mills. A minor amount of coal is transported to the Eraring Power Station via internal haul road when required (Glencore, 2014q). West Wallsend Colliery currently mines coal from West Borehole coal seam (Glencore, 2014p, p. 1) although the Nobbys, Dudley and Yard coal seams (informal names) have been previously extracted. The thickness of the West Borehole coal seam varies from 3 to 6.5 m at the mine site. The roof of the West Borehole coal seam is predominantly the Nobbys Tuff claystone (Glencore, 2014q). The near-surface geology within the lease area comprises Permian sedimentary rock units (Newcastle Coal Measures). The structure and disposition of these strata is strongly influenced by the Macquarie Syncline, which trends north-north-west, bisecting the West Wallsend Colliery lease to the east of the underground mine. In this area the strata dip to the east at an angle of about 2 to 4 degrees (Glencore, 2014p, p. 1).

The mine plan aims to progressively rehabilitate disturbed areas to the same or better level of biodiversity, species abundance and landscape quality that was present prior to mining (Glencore, 2014q). Predicted land surface subsidence above underground workings is 0.34 to 2.52 m (Glencore, n.d.).

Last updated:
18 January 2019
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