Mt Arthur Coal is an open-cut coal mine that produces thermal coal for domestic and export markets for power generation. It is one of the largest individual coal production sites in the Hunter Valley.
Mt Arthur Coal is less than five kilometres from the town of Muswellbrook in the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales. The mine shares the area with rural properties and other industries such as horse studs, vineyards, olive groves and residential suburbs.
Geology and Mineralization
The Permian coal measures of the Sydney-Gunnedah Basin are bituminous in rank and consist of a large variety of coal types ranging from low-volatile, hard coking coals to high quality thermal coals.
The Mt. Arthur operation mines 21 unique coal seams that are usually over 2 m thick.
Current mining activities are focused on the 21 unique seams which were identified during early exploration work.
Mining equipment contains some of the largest and quietest trucks engineered in the world. Large electric shovels are used to remove overburden and excavators are used to load coal into large capacity haul trucks for transportation to the Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP). The CHPP is located adjacent to the mine. This is where the coal is crushed, screened, cleaned and sorted according to market requirements.
After the coal has been removed, rehabilitation is a priority. The overburden is replaced, shaped, covered with topsoil and replanted to resemble the original landscape.
Once coal is mined, it is hauled by truck to the coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP) and is dumped into one of two hoppers. Preliminary crushing takes place at the base of these hoppers before a conveyor transports the coal to the crushing station. Up to 2,000 tonnes of raw coal is fed through the crusher and 1,200 tonnes through the preparation plant per hour.
Once crushed, the coal is transported to one of three locations:
- The domestic coal stockpile and then by conveyor to the local power station. Approximately 1.7 million tonnes of coal is used for domestic energy generation each year.
- The coal preparation plant where any impurities are removed, then by conveyor to the export coal stockpile.
- Directly to the export coal stockpile and then to the export coal rail load-out facility for transportation to the Port of Newcastle. Approximately 10.7 million tonnes of coal was transported by rail to Newcastle in 2010.
In 2010, approximately 12.3 million tonnes of coal was transported from Mt Arthur Coal.
Environment and Community
At Mt Arthur Coal environment and community responsibilities are integral to the way it operates. From initial mine planning through to final site rehabilitation, its aim is to minimise the impact of our operations on the natural environment and nearby residents.
Mt Arthur Coal has a large number of statutory approvals relating to environmental management that cover the different activities on site. In total the operation must comply with more than 1500 approval constraints, in addition to the requirements of government policies and legislation.