The Mt Owen Complex consists of the Mt Owen, Ravensworth East and Glendell open cut coal mines. All mines are owned and managed by Xstrata Mt Owen (formerly Hunter Valley Coal Corporation) on behalf of Xstrata Coal. Xstrata Mt Owen is a wholly owned subsidiary of Xstrata Coal. Thiess Pty Ltd operates Mt Owen mine under a contracting agreement with Xstrata Mt Owen.
The integration of these adjacent Xstrata owned operations enables all sites to utilise existing infrastructure and coal handling facilities at Mt Owen Mine.
Mt Owen Mine is a structurally complex deposit consisting of 28 seam sections, with dips ranging from 10 to 45 degrees. Mining is undertaken at depths in excess of 280m, which makes Mt Owen one of the deepest operating open cut coal mines in the world.
The Mt Owen Complex has approval to extract and process up to 15Mtpa of Run of Mine (ROM) coal. These high quality export thermal and semi-soft coking coals are predominantly exported to South-East Asia for domestic power generation and use in steel production.
Mt Owen Complex is located within the Hunter Coalfields at Hebden in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales, approximately 25 kilometres northwest of Singleton, and 26 kilometres southeast of Muswellbrook.
Geology and Mineralization
Mt Owen is situated between two regional thrust faults, the Hunter Thrust and the Hebden Thrust that limit the lateral extent of the coal seams. Seam dips vary throughout the deposit, with dips being steep (up to 45 º ) in the areas near the Hunter and Hebden Thrusts where parallel thrusts dislocate the seam by up to 40 metres.
Up to 22 mineable coal intervals are recognised, ranging in thickness from 0.2 metre to 10 metres, within a stratigraphic interval of approximately 350 metres, the coal seams comprise a total thickness of approximately 55 metres.
The seams for which there is potential for economic extraction at Mt Owen include the Lemington Seams, Pikes Gully Seams, Arties Seams, Upper Liddell Seams, Middle Liddell Seams, Lower Liddell Seams, Barrett Seams, Upper Hebden Seams and the Lower Hebden Seams.
The mineable coal seams at Ravensworth East vary in thickness from 0.3 metres to 8.5 metres, and include the Ravensworth and Bayswater seams over a stratigraphic interval of approximately 130 metres (maximum) from the surface. These seams form part of the Jerry's Plains Sub-Group of the Whittingham Coal Measures.
Similar mining methods are employed across Mt Owen and Ravensworth East mines. Mining is currently carried out by large excavators and haul trucks supported by ancillary equipment including water carts, dozers, graders, fuel and service carts, loaders and drills
The sequence of mining involves clearing of vegetation and topsoil, drilling and blasting of overburden, followed by the excavation and haulage of overburden from a series of sequential mining blocks to the emplacement. The coal that is uncovered is then hauled to the Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) for processing. The majority of the clean coal is conveyed to the product stockpile before being transported by rail for approximately 120 kilometres to the port of Newcastle for export. A small amount of coal from Ravensworth East Mine is supplied to local power stations for electricity generation via an overland conveyor system.
Up to 15 Mtpa of Run of Mine (ROM) coal will be received and processed at Mt Owen Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) from Mt Owen, Ravensworth East and Glendell mines. This throughput rate is an increase from current processing capacity of 9 Mtpa ROM coal, necessitating an upgrade to facilities at the Mt Owen CHPP. The upgrade will enable processing of up to 10 Mtpa ROM coal from Mt Owen Mine and approximately 5 Mtpa from Ravensworth East and/or Glendell mines.
Environment and Community
The Mt Owen Complex strives to provide accurate and informative information to all stakeholders. Various strategies are employed to facilitate effective stakeholder communications, including community meetings, distribution of community newsletters, one on one meetings and community information days. The Mt Owen Complex has a dedicated Community Liaison Officer who is responsible for facilitating effective stakeholder engagement and responding to any community concerns in a timely manner.
Xstrata Mt Owen's broad community program, which includes donations, sponsorship and in-kind assistance for a range of environmental, community and educational initiatives, demonstrates our on-going support for the local community.