Currently under care and maintenance, the Newstan underground coal mine is owned by Centennial Coal (100%). The site was originally state-owned and mined for over 125 years before being sold to Centennial Coal in 2002 as part of the Powercoal acquisition (Centennial Coal, 2012b) at which time Centennial Coal was the buyer of the entire package of NSW Government’s Powercoal coal mines (SMH, 2002). The mine is in the Newcastle Coalfields, near the town of Toronto. Full production capacity was 4.0 Mt/year, and the mine produced both thermal and semi-soft coking coal, mainly from the Great Northern coal seam (Centennial Coal, 2012b). Operations were performed underground using longwall and continuous miner processes. On-site facilities include a coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP), reject-emplacement infrastructure, dedicated haul roads and a rail facility to the Vales Point Power Station (Figure 6) and the ports of Newcastle and Kembla.

Coal produced was originally transported to the local Wangi Wangi Power Station for state-wide electricity generation. From 2002, coal was also exported. Difficult geological conditions at the mine led to Newstan being placed on care and maintenance in 2008. Thereafter, an extensive exploration drilling programme was undertaken over several years (Centennial Coal, 2012b).

Due to prevailing economic conditions affecting the coal industry in general, and with the aim of reducing costs across the Centennial Group, Newstan was again placed on care and maintenance in August 2014, with operations currently under review (Centennial Coal, 2014b). However, in anticipation of improved market conditions in the future, and as the mine is close to local power stations and the Port of Newcastle, approval application for an extension project will continue to be progressed (Centennial Coal, 2014b). There are estimated remaining coal reserves at the site of 68.3 Mt, equivalent to 20.2 years of further operations at proposed production rates. Water management improvements have been developed including the Southern Reject Emplacement Area, Clean Water Diversion Drain and the Final Pollution Control Dam expansion (Centennial Coal, 2012b).

Although currently under care and maintenance, Newstan is proposing two projects: the Newstan Extension Project and the Northern Coal Logistics Project (Centennial Coal, 2012b). The Newstan Extension Project seeks to extend underground operations to extract up to 4.5 Mt/year ROM coal (currently authorised for up to 4.0 Mt/year) for a period of 21 years (DGR, 2012). At the time of writing (May 2015) the status is that the Director General’s Requirements for the environmental assessment were issued in March 2012 (DGR, 2012). The environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Northern Coal Logistics Project was submitted in 2014 (NSW Department of Planning and Environment, 2014a) and a response to submissions was published on 4 February 2015 (Centennial Coal, 2015).

Last updated:
18 January 2019
Thumbnail of the Hunter subregion

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