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Key Facts

Commodity Thermal Coal - Met Coal

New South Wales, Australia
Nearest Landmark: MUSWELLBROOK
Distance: 4 Km West from the nearest Landmark
Latitude: 32° 16' (South)
Longitude: 150° 50' (East) Map
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Owners Rio Tinto - 32%
Mistui - 10%
Taiwan Power - 10%
Wesfarmers - 38%
Operator Coal & Allied Ltd
Production Coal - 5.4mt in 2011
Deposit Type Sedimentary coal deposit
Reserves & Resources Coal - 135mt proven and probable (Dec 31, 2011)
Mine Type Surface
Mining Method Open pit
Processing Method  
Mine Life Beyond 2030
Mining Equipment Dragline (P&H 9020), haul trucks, 4.5km conveyor
Processing equipment  Two 600tph washery modules; Two Kawasaki reclaimers
Employees Approx 267
Contact Information Bengalla Road
Muswellbrook, NSW
AUST 2333
Phone:+61 (2) 6542 9500
Fax:+61 (2) 6542 9599
Reference Date: July 2, 2008

Last updated: May 7, 2011


Bengalla thermal and metallurgical coal mining operation is located in New South Wales, Australia. It commenced operations in October 1998.

It is an open cut mine that is using a dragline and trucks and shovels. Some 267 employees (as at 31 December 2008) work in shifts to keep the mine operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Operations are centred in the Wittingham Coal Measures of the Hunter Coalfield, which is part of a Permian coal basin known as the Sydney basin.


Situated at Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Australia, the Mining Lease covers an area of approximately 1,000 ha. Access is by roads, rail, conveyor and port.

New South Wales is an eastern Australian state located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Sydney is the state's capital and is Australia's most populous city (4.6 mill. in 2010).

Coal is the state's largest export product.


Geology and Mineralization

 The Bengalla mine is located in the north-west of the Hunter Coalfield.

Coal seams amenable to open cut mining occur in eight correlated coal seams or splits (Warkworth, Mt Arthur, Piercefield, Vaux, Broonie, Bayswater, Wynn and Edderton). The seams comprise some 51 recognised coal and stone plies. The splits of all seams except the Vaux, Broonie and Bayswater seams occur as separate seams throughout the mine. The two splits of the Vaux Seam however coalesce to form one seam in parts of the area. The lower splits of the Broonie Seam (splits 2 & 3) and the whole of the underlying Bayswater seam combine to form one thick seam (up to 13m) in the eastern part of the area. The combined seams split progressively westwards as the splits thin and become separated by increasing thickness of sandstone.

Coal seams at Bengalla comprise those of the lower Jerrys Plains and Vane Subgroups of the Late Permian Whittingham Coal Measures. The seams subcrop along the western flank of the north-south trending Muswellbrook Anticline, and dip westwards at around 8° near subcrop, easing with depth to 2 - 3°.

Bengalla has proved and probable reserves of over 135 Mt (Dec/11)

Since opening in 1999, over 27 million tonnes of coal has been sold within the domestic and export market. Coal reserves within the current mining lease will continue to support operations beyond 2030 at present production rates.

Mining & Operation

The Strip Mining Method is employed at Bengalla mine. The mine is approximately 2.3 kilometres in length and each strip is 60 metres wide. The overburden to coal stripping ratio is in the order of 3 bank cubic metres of waste per run-of-mine tonne of coal.

At Bengalla, a massive dragline (P&H 9020) is used to dig out and relocate the overburden. The dragline has an operating radius of 105 metres, a nominal digging depth of 75 metres and a dumping height of 64 metres. Excavators and trucks are used to mine the coal. Haul trucks transport the coal from the mining face to a coal receival hopper which is presently located on the eastern mine lease. This coal hopper is connected to a 4.5 kilometre overland conveyor that runs back to the main infrastructure area and Coal Handling & Preparation Plant. Pre-strip mining (overburden removed before dragline can begin mining) is carried out by utilising two excavators and a fleet of trucks down to the Piercefield coal seam. The pre-strip section is blasted with faces excavated at 50°. The overburden and coal are accessed via haulroad ramps.

Some 5.4 million tonnes coal were produced in 2011.

In November 2010 an expansion of thermal coal capacity by 2.1 million tonnes to 7.5 mtpa was approved. The expansion would include purchasing of addtional mining equipment and an upgrading of the infrastructure.


The Coal Handling and Preparation Plan (CHPP) houses two 600 tonne per hour washery modules. The second module was constructed in 2001 and commissioned during 2002. Each module contains a dense medium cyclone and spirals used to separate minerals contaminants to improve Bengalla’s coal purity for the export market.

The coal is reduced to a size of 50 mm by a combination of crushing and roller screens. The raw coal can then be sent directly to clean coal stockpiles for domestic use, fed directly into the CHPP or stacked onto the 200,000 tonne raw coal stockpile for later processing through the CHPP.

After processing, the product coal is centrifuged for the purpose of moisture reduction, and then stacked on one of two 250,000 tonne clean coal stockpiles ready to be railed to market. When preparing for a shipment, the product coal can be reclaimed by one of two Kawasaki reclaimers with a rated capacity of 3,000 tonnes per hour each.

Environment & Community

Agricultural land is located on either side of the Hunter River floodplain, and grazing land is located to the west of the mine.

Aboriginal populations had been consulted with regard to the proposed mine expansion as some low interest archaeological sites would be disturbed. Surface water impacts would not be significant. Dust and noise suppression measures are also to be implemented as to reduce the impact on local farms.

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