Ashton Coal Mine

Ashton Coal Mine is owned and operated by Yancoal Australia Ltd (Ashton Coal, 2015a). Open-cut operations started in 2004, and underground extraction using longwall operations commenced in 2006 (Ashton Coal, 2015b). The mine is approximately 14 km north-west of Singleton in the Upper Hunter Valley, and is adjacent to several other open-cut mines: Glendell (Glencore), Integra (Vale Australia), Lemington (part of Hunter Valley Operations, Rio Tinto Coal Australia), Ravensworth (Glencore), and Narama (Glencore) (Ashton Coal, 2015a).

At present, the Barrett pit and the Arties pit are mined at Ashton (Ashton Coal, 2015c). Extraction from the North East Open Cut ceased in 2010. Yancoal applied to move open-cut operations to the South East Open Cut site and the Ashton Mine South East Open Cut Project was approved in October 2012 (NSW Department of Planning and Environment, 2015a). The project operations in the South East Open Cut are planned to continue until 2017 (Ashton Coal, 2015c), while underground mining is planned to continue until 2023 (Ashton Coal, 2015c). From the open-cut operations coal is produced from the Pikes Gully, Arties, Liddell and Barrett coal measures (Ashton Coal, 2015c), whereas underground operations target the Pikes Gully, Upper Liddell, Upper Lower Liddell and the Lower Barrett coal seams (Ashton Coal, 2015c).

The current open-cut and underground production capacity is approximately 3.9 Mt/year (Ashton Coal, 2015a) and approximately 3.2 Mt/year of ROM coal is extracted through underground operations (Ashton Coal, 2015d). Current resources and reserves for Ashton of 437 Mt and 60.8 Mt, respectively, are reported in the OZMIN database (Geoscience Australia, 2015). Open-cut mining takes place using backhoe-style excavators and earthmoving trucks (Ashton Coal, 2015c) and multi-seam extraction underground uses longwall mining (Ashton Coal, 2015d). The on-site coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP) (Ashton Coal, 2015e) produces semi-soft coking coal and some thermal coal products (Ashton Coal, 2015a), mainly for the Asian steel-making industry.

Ashton Coal Mine has a nil discharge environment protection licence and as a result there are no site discharges of contaminated or saline water. All such water is captured using the site water management system and is used for dust suppression and coal processing (Ashton Coal, 2015f).

Last updated:
18 January 2019
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