Chain Valley Colliery

Chain Valley Colliery (CVC), which commenced mining in 1962 (LakeCoal Chain Valley Colliery, n.d.), is operated by LakeCoal, which is wholly owned by LDO Coal Pty Ltd on behalf of the Wallarah Coal Joint Venture (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014b, p. E.4). CVC is approximately 60 km south of Newcastle, and is adjacent to the Vales Point Power Station at the southern end of Lake Macquarie (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. E.1). The CVC mining tenements cover approximately 2200 ha (EMGA Mitchell McLennan Pty Ltd, 2014a, p. E.3). Current operations are approved until 31 December 2027 and include extraction of up to 1.5 Mt/year ROM coal from the Fassifern coal seam (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. 13). Estimated reserves at CVC are approximately 19.5 Mt of ROM coal (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. 13).

CVC has one underground mine with two current workings at ML 1052. These use continuous miner and mini-wall extraction methods, which is similar to longwall mining but with a narrower face-width (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. E.1, p. E.3).

CVC produces thermal coal, with up to 660,000 tonnes per year delivered by public road to Port Waratah Coal Services for export. The remainder is sold domestically, with the main customer Delta Electricity Vales Point Power Station (VPPS). Coal is transported by private roads to the VPPS (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. E.5, p. 3, p. 4, p. 5), and on public roads to the other domestic customers (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. E.3). Onsite, the colliery hosts a coal preparation plant for sizing and crushing (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. E.3).

CVC is licensed under NSW’s Water Act 1912 for extraction of 4,443 ML/year for mine dewatering and on-site industrial use (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. E.7). Mine water inflows are currently pumped to the CVC pit top area and then onto a licensed discharge point on Swindles Creek (a tributary of Lake Macquarie) (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. E.8). Water demand is 120 ML/year and is supplied from Wyong Shire Council’s potable water mains (EMGA Mitchell McLennan Pty Ltd, 2014a, p. 13). Median annual groundwater inflow to the Fassifern underground operation at CVC is currently 2773 ML (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. 30).

No coal rejects are generated at CVC (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. 13). Mining parameters have been designed to protect Lake Macquarie foreshore and local seagrass communities, consistent with the mining lease conditions and the existing subsidence management plan (EMGA Mitchell McLennan Pty Ltd, 2014a, p. 15).

Decommissioning of surface facilities and final rehabilitation plans following mine closure are detailed by EMGA Mitchell McLennan (2014a, p. 13). Rehabilitation will be carried out progressively (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. 15). The plans include restoration of ecosystem function including maintenance of self-sustaining ecosystems comprising native plant species and landforms consistent with the surrounding environment (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014a, p. 14).

Additional to the approved operations at CVC, existing plans to link the CVC with the neighbouring underground mine at the Mannering Colliery are outlined below.

Mannering Colliery Modification 2

Mannering Colliery Modification 2 was approved on 27 November 2014, to construct an underground linkage between the Chain Valley Colliery and the Mannering Colliery, targeting the Fassifern coal seam (NSW Department of Planning and Environment, 2014a, 2014b). The project plans to install and use an underground conveyor belt system and ancillary services, enabling ROM coal to be transferred on conveyors between Chain Valley and Mannering. The existing Mannering Colliery infrastructure would be used to transport coal from the Chain Valley underground workings at a rate of not greater than 1.1 Mt/year. All coal will be sold domestically to Vales Point Power Station (EMGA, 2014b, p. E.4–E.5). Approval was granted with conditions specifically regarding landscape and rehabilitation and the mining closure plan (NSW Department of Planning and Environment, 2014e, 2014f).

The total resource at Mannering Colliery is estimated at approximately 14.8 Mt of ROM coal (EMGA Mitchell McLennan, 2014b, p. 13). Existing facilities include coal crushing facility, overland conveyor between the Mannering Colliery’s pit top area and the Vales Point Power Station, worker’s amenities, workshops, offices, carparks, ventilation fans (EMGA Mitchell McLennan Pty Ltd, 2014b, p. 13).

Daily water discharge at Mannering Colliery is licensed up to 4 ML. Potable water for use in surface facilities and underground operations may be supplied under licence by Wyong Shire Council via a direct, metered pipeline (EMGA Mitchell McLennan Pty Ltd, 2014b, p. 13). Extraction of groundwater from mine workings will be undertaken in accordance with Bore Licence 20BL172016 issued under NSW’s Water Act 1912 (EMGA Mitchell McLennan Pty Ltd, 2014b, p. 8).

Last updated:
18 January 2019
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