Yallourn Mine and Power Station

In 1919 the State Government approved construction of a power station (50 MW) and a briquette factory at what was later called Yallourn. The State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) was established on 1 January 1921. Among its immediate tasks associated with the management of electricity generation and supply throughout Victoria was the establishment of a power station, briquette works and open-cut mining at Yallourn.

Site works had commenced in October 1920 by the ‘Electricity Commissioners’ to plans previously approved by Parliament. Included in the defined role of the SECV was ‘the development of the brown coal resources of the State.’ From 1921 to 1924, as overburden was removed to expose a coal surface, a few hundred tonnes of coal in total was intermittently extracted for testing. Coal deliveries on an operational basis commenced on 21 August 1924 (Vines, 2008).

In 1936, proposals were advanced for a new open-cut mine in the vicinity of Yallourn (Yallourn North). This new open-cut mine was to have a coal transport interconnection with the current mine – Yallourn open-cut, to provide extra coal winning capacity and reliability for additional power and briquetting units. In 1955, Yallourn North Extension open-cut (YNX) was opened up by the SECV due to dwindling coal reserves at Yallourn North open-cut.

In 1964, operations at Yallourn North open-cut ceased. As a component of a long term rehabilitation plan, portions of the open-cut mined out area continue to be used as a below natural ground level storage for ash hydraulically pumped from the nearby Yallourn W Power Station (Figure 10). In 1989, Yallourn North Extension open-cut ceased coal mining operations due to APM Maryvale (the last remaining customer) converting fully to power generation from natural gas. Rehabilitation of the open-cut has occurred such that mining of an approximate 40 Mt of coal could be viable in the future (Vines, 2008).

The current power station commenced operations in 1974 with four generating units commissioned between 1974 and 1982 (Energy Australia, 2015).

Energy Australia owns the 1450 MW Yallourn Power Station in Victoria and the associated brown coal mine, which produces about 18 Mt of brown coal per year from the Maryvale Coal Field. Coal is mined using large satellite-guided bulldozers. These bulldozers are capable of pushing at least 2400 tonnes of coal per hour to a feeder breaker, which loads it onto a moving conveyor for delivery to the power station’s furnaces. More than 38 km of conveyors are located in the mine for carrying coal to the power station (Department of Primary Industries, 2010).

The mine has ample reserves to meet the projected needs of the power station (Figure 10) until 2032. The station supplies approximately 22% of Victoria’s electricity needs and approximately 8% of the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Last updated:
8 January 2018
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