Mount Owen Complex

The Mount Owen Complex has operated for over 20 years. It is situated approximately 20 km north-west of Singleton, 24 km south-east of Muswellbrook and to the north of Camberwell village. The Mount Owen Complex consists of three open-cut operations: Mount Owen (known as North Pit), Ravensworth East (where the pits are known as West and Bayswater North pits) and Glendell (Barrett Pit) (Glencore, 2014i). Mining leases and titles include CL 358, 383 and 382, CCL 715, Miscellaneous Purposes Licence (MPL) 3.43, ML 1410, ML 1476, ML 1415, ML 1355, ML 1419, ML 1453, ML 1561, ML 1608, ML 1629 and ML 1475. The current mine operating plans for Mount Owen and Ravensworth East Mines are approved to December 2015 (Glencore, 2013b, p. 3), whereas Glendell Mine is approved to December 2024 (NSW Department of Planning, 2008, p. 4). The complex is currently approved to produce 18.5 Mt/year ROM coal from the three mines combined. The mining operations are managed by Mount Owen Pty Ltd, owned by Glencore Coal Australia Pty Limited (Glencore Coal) and operated by Thiess Pty Ltd.

The Mount Owen Complex shares facilities between Glendell, Mt Owen and Ravensworth East. There is a CHPP that has the ability to process 15 Mt/year ROM coal (up to 15 Mt/year from Mount Owen and up to 5 Mt/year jointly from Ravensworth East and Glendell pits in a combination that totals 15 Mt/year) (Glencore, 2013b). Both thermal and semi-soft coking coal are produced at Mount Owen and sold to export markets. Measured resources at the Mount Owen Complex are 300 Mt, indicated resources are 148 Mt and inferred resources are 181 Mt (2013 estimates, GlencoreXstrata, 2014, p. 50).

The Mount Owen Complex is situated between two regional thrust faults (Hunter Thrust and Hebden Thrust), each limiting the lateral extent of the coal seams. The seam dips vary and can be up to 45 degrees in areas around the Hebden and Hunter thrusts where the thrusts may offset seams by up to 40 m. Twenty-two mineable coal intervals within 11 coal seams have been identified at the mine and these range from 0.2 to 10 m in thickness, within a total 350 m interval. Within this zone coal seams comprise a total thickness of approximately 55 m. Potential economic extraction at Mount Owen is from the Lemington, Pikes Gully, Arties, Upper Liddell, Middle Liddell, Barrett, Upper Hebden and Lower Hebden coal seams. Mining at the Mount Owen Complex targets the Wittingham Coal Measures with the North Pit located between the Hunter and Hebden thrusts (Glencore, 2013b, p. 21).

The Mount Owen Complex water management system captures water from approximately 781 ha including the open-cut pits, overburden dumps, Ravensworth East tailings pits and surface infrastructure facilities. Mount Owen Complex manages water onsite and can transfer water to or from Glencore’s Liddell and Ravensworth mines (Glencore, 2014j, p4). Runoff from disturbed areas is transferred to Environmental Control Dam 2 (ECD2), which is used for dust suppression. Potable water is pumped from Glennies Creek and treated prior to use, with additional water to meet site demands imported from Ravensworth East, Liddell Borehole or Glennies Creek. The Liddell Coal Borehole provides water sourced from inundated underground workings at Liddell Mine. Mount Owen also holds an extraction licence for up to 1000 ML/year from Glennies Creek. Surplus water can be discharged to Swamp Creek at a maximum rate of 66 ML/day (Umwelt, 2003, p. 8.4). Rehabilitation is undertaken progressively as mining is completed. All areas disturbed within the Ravensworth State Forest boundary will be rehabilitated to similar woodland community (Umwelt, 2003, p. 2.5). Under S 96 (2) of NSW’s Environmental Planning and Asssessment Act 1979, the mine was granted permission to discharge mine water to the Hunter River in accordance with the Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme (Umwelt, 2003, p. 1.3).

Mount Owen Mine

Mount Owen open-cut mine is owned by Glencore Coal Australia Pty Limited (Glencore Coal) and is operated by Thiess Pty Ltd (Thiess) (Glencore, 2013b, p. 1, p. 13). The Mount Owen Mine commenced open-cut operations in 1993 (Umwelt, 2003, p. 1.1; Glencore, 2013, p. 1). In 2004, development consent was granted to Mount Owen to increase both the mining area and the production rate (to 10 Mt/year ROM coal). Additionally, this approval allowed for a new satellite pit (the Eastern Rail Pit) and increased processing capacity.

Mount Owen Mine is about 25 km north-west of Singleton, 26 km south-east of Muswellbrook and 10 km north of Camberwell (Umwelt, 2003, p. 1.1). Mount Owen Continued Operations Project is proposed to extend the life of the Mount Owen Mine until 2030 (providing an additional 92 Mt coal) although total annual ROM production is not planned to change (Glencore, 2014k). See also Section 1.2.3, Mount Owen Continued Operations Project. The mine currently produces 8 Mt/year ROM coal for supply to export markets (Umwelt, 2003, p. 1.1). The mine is operated by means of large excavators and haul trucks supported by ancillary equipment including water carts, dozers, graders, fuel and service carts, loaders and drills. The coal that is uncovered is hauled to the CHPP for processing. Clean coal is conveyed to the product stockpile before being transported by rail for approximately 120 km to the Port of Newcastle for export.

Water is used at Mount Owen Mine for coal washing, dust suppression and amenities. The major water use is coal washing, which accounts for approximately 18.6 ML/day, of which 16 ML is recycled water. Average daily water usage for dust suppression is 1.14 ML, with the remainder used for amenities (Umwelt, 2003, p. 8.5).

Ravensworth East Mine

Ravensworth East Mine, formally known as Swamp Creek Mine (previously mined by Hebden Mining Company) operates under the management of Glendell (Glencore, 2014l Ravensworth East page). The Ravensworth East Open Cut Mine was acquired in June 1997 by Peabody Resources Limited (Peabody) after a period of care and maintenance under the previous owner, Electricity Commission of NSW (Xstrata Coal, 2007, p. 8). Approval under a new Mining Lease (ML 1415) was granted in 2000 for production of up to 4 Mt/year ROM coal (Glencore, 2013a, p. 2). Ravensworth East Mine is owned by Glencore Coal Australia Pty Limited (Glencore) (since 2002), and operates under the management of Glendell Tenements Pty Ltd. Mining activities are conducted by Glencore (Glencore, 2013b, p. 13).

Mining operations recommenced in August 2000, and mining is expected to continue for up to 21 years under the current operation schedule (Glencore, 2013b, p. 2). In 2004, Ravensworth East was integrated into the Mount Owen Complex (Glencore, 2014l, Ravensworth East page). The Ravensworth East Mine is about 26 km north-west of Singleton within ML 1415 and ML 1453, and consists of the West Pit, Stage 2, and the Ravensworth West pit (Glencore, 2013b, p. 22) (Glencore, 2013a, p. 2). An application to modify the Ravensworth East Mine development area has been lodged with NSW Department of Planning and Industry (Ravensworth East Resource Recovery Project discussed under Mount Owen Continuation Project, see Section 1.2.3) and a decision is currently pending (Glencore, 2013b, p. 3). Ravensworth East is currently approved to produce 4 Mt/year of ROM coal (Glencore, 2014m, p. 2). The mine produces thermal coal that is sold to both the domestic and export markets (Glencore, 2013b, p. 21). As at 31 December 2013, measured resources at Ravensworth East were 6.1 Mt, indicated resources were 4 Mt and inferred resources were 5 Mt (GlencoreXstrata, 2014, p. 50). The mining targets are the Ravensworth coal seam to the underlying Bayswater Coal Member, dipping south-east at 15 degrees (Glencore, 2013b, p. 22). The West Pit is constrained to the east by the previously mined tailings pits and the Mount Owen rail loop, and to the south and north by the lease boundary (Glencore, 2013b, p. 22).

Glendell Coal Mine

The Glendell Coal Mine is an approved open-cut coal mine adjoining the Ravensworth East and Mount Owen Mines at Mount Owen Complex (Glencore 2015a). Glendell Coal Mine was initially approved in 1983 whilst under the joint venture ownership of Renison Goldfields and Dalgety Australia Ltd for 30 years extraction up to 2013. The mine was later fully acquired by Renison Goldfields Consolidated Ltd in 1989, and in 1992 was sold to a consortium of Savage Resources (56.5%), Marion Coal Pty Ltd (16%) and Mitsui Matsushima (27.5%). In 1994 a new joint venture between Savage Resources (37.5%) and Mitsui Matsushima (32.5%) was formed and in 1999 Savage Resources sold its share to Pasminco who, in turn, sold it that year to Glencore Coal Australia Pty Ltd (Glencore Coal). Glencore’s stake was later sold to Xstrata Coal Pty Limited (Xstrata) in 2003. In 2003, Xstrata acquired the mine in its entirety and was integrated with the adjoining Mount Owen and Ravensworth East mines (NSW Department of Planning, 2008, p. 1). Glendell Coal Mine is owned by Glencore Coal, and operates under management of Glendell Tenements Pty Ltd (Glencore, 2013b, p. 13).

Due to various factors, mining operations were delayed (NSW Department of Planning, 2008, p. 1) and first extraction took place in 2008. Modification plans extended the time allowing extraction for 16 years to 2024 (NSW Department of Planning, 2008, p. 4). Extraction takes place via truck and excavator (NSW Department of Planning, 2008, p. 4). The mine was initially authorised to extract up to 3.6 Mt/year, but in 2008 a modification was made allowing extraction of up to 4.5 Mt/year ROM coal (Glencore, 2013b, p. 2).

Construction commenced in April 2008 and the first coal was extracted at Glendell Coal Mine in June 2008 (Glencore, 2015a). Glendell is a multi-seam coal deposit consisting of a number of coal seams of the Foybrook Formation, the lowermost coal-bearing unit of the Wittingham Coal Measures. Mineable coal seams include Pikes Gully, Arties, Upper Liddell, Middle Liddell, Lower Liddell and Barrett that range in thickness from 0.3 to 3.5 m and coal is mined using open-cut methods (Glencore, 2013b, p. 21). The approved mining area is approximately 685 ha and 200 m deep (Glencore, 2013b, p. 21).

Thermal coal is produced at the mine for both the overseas and domestic markets (NSW Department of Planning, 2008, p. 4). Coal is processed at the Mount Owen CHPP, whilst water is managed as part of the Mount Owen water management system (Glencore, 2015b) The mine’s final void is expected to be 65 million m3 and will be progressively rehabilitated (NSW Department of Planning, 2008, Appendix A).

Last updated:
18 January 2019
Thumbnail of the Hunter subregion

Product Finalisation date