Wambo Mine Complex

The Wambo Mine Complex is near Warkworth village, 15 km west of Singleton in the Upper Hunter Valley. The mine is operated by Wambo Coal Pty Ltd, which was 75% acquired by Peabody Energy Australia Ltd in 2006. Development consent for open-cut and underground mining operations was granted in 1969 by the Patrick Plains Shire Council (Peabody, 2013).

In the existing open-cut, mining began in 1993 and targeted the Wambo, Whynot and Redbank Creek coal members in the ’lease swap’ area. These seams actually belong to the historical United Collieries’ mining lease. In 2010, equipment was extracted from the United Collieries underground mine, the necessary sections were sealed and the operation entered a period of Suspension of Operations (Glencore, 2015c). In exchange, Wambo Coal Mine allowed United Collieries to exploit the underground reserves in this area. Operations stopped and restarted in 2001 to mine the Whybrow coal seam in the Bates North Pit. In 2002 the Wambo, Whynot, Redbank Creek and Whybrow coal members were mined in the Ridge, Hunter and Homestead pits (Wambo Coal, 2014a, p. 16). The current Mining Operations Plan, which is valid from 2010 to 2016, allows the continuation of mining in Bates, Bates South and Homestead Pits, as well as the development of Montrose East and West Pits (Wambo Coal, 2010, p. 1).

Homestead underground mine was operated from 1979 and closed in 1999 when the last longwall (Longwall 9) was completed. Current underground operations began in 2007 in North Wambo Underground Mine (Wambo Coal, 2011, p. 6–7). In 2013 approval was granted for extraction in Longwall 7 and Longwall 8. A proposal was submitted for Longwall 9 and Longwall 10 in North Wambo underground in December 2012 (Wambo Coal, 2014a, p. 16) and approved in 2013 (NSW Planning Assessment Commission, 2013, p. 1). A development of additional longwall panels (the proposed Longwall 10A) in the Wambo coal seam contiguous with the existing North Wambo Underground Mine was submitted in October 2014 (Wambo Coal, 2014b) and approved in April 2015 (NSW Department of Planning and Environment, 2015e, p. 43).

The existing leases and titles for Wambo Coal are CL 365, CL 374, CL 397, CCL 743, ML 1402, ML 1572, ML 1594, AUTH 444 and EL 1711. The current operations are under NSW development consent DA-305-7-2003 granted in 2004. The approved mining rate is up to 14.7 Mt/year for both underground and open-cut mining. In 2013 the Wambo Mine Complex produced 9.6 Mt of ROM coal, with 4.1 Mt from open-cut operations and 5.5 Mt from underground operations. Following processing at the CHPP, it was then transformed into 6.2 Mt of saleable coal (Wambo Coal, 2014a, p. 1, p. 18, p. 19).

Coal is mined with open-cut mining methods using shovels and excavators. It is transported to the on-site CHPP with haul trucks via the internal haul roads. The coal is then stockpiled or stored in the 400 tonne bin before being loaded by front-end loader for processing in the ROM crusher (Wambo Coal, 2014a, p. 16). Thermal coal is loaded at the rail loading facility to be transported to the Port of Newcastle. It is shipped by Port Waratah Coal Services and Newcastle Group Infrastructure facilities to the Asian market, mainly Japan, South Korea and China (Peabody, 2013).

Rehabilitation is currently taking place at the Wambo Mine Complex under the Rehabilitation Management Plan and the Mining Operation Plan for the open-cut mine (2010 to 2016) and the underground mine (2013 to 2015). Land is reshaped and biosolids used as topsoil.

Last updated:
18 January 2019
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