New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project

New Acland Coal Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of New Hope Corporation Ltd (and part of the New Hope Group), are currently planning an expansion of the existing New Acland open-cut mine, to be known as the New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project. This project is situated in the Clarence-Moreton Basin and will be mining the Walloon Coal Measures. Originally lodged in 2009, a plan that proposed the progressive expansion of the current mine up to a capacity of 10 Mt/year, extending the mine life until approximately 2042, was substantially revised and is further described here. The current plans (presently a new draft environmental impact statement (EIS)) for the expansion have been lodged with Queensland Government Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning as a Coordinator-General project (Queensland Government DSDIP, 2014) after public consultation of these plans in January to March 2014. In 2007, the Federal Environment Minister declared that the project was a controlled action (under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act)) and in 2012 accepted project variations as an amendment (New Hope Group, 2014a, p. 13).

The extension project plans include site access construction, roads, water management structures and supporting infrastructure from 2015 to 2017 (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 3-20). Supporting infrastructure will include an administration area, workshop and wash-down bay, fuel storage area, two process-water dams, stockpile pads, licensed water bores, upgrades to the existing coal handling and preparation plant and supporting infrastructure, a new coal load-out facility and an approximately 8 km rail spur in addition to water management and power supply upgrades and relocation (Queensland Government DSDIP, 2014; New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 3-48). The extension project will extend the life of the current operation until about 2029 (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 1).

The extension project will be performed within Mining Lease Application (MLA) 50232 and involves the extension and operation of the existing New Acland Mine to increase production from 4.8 Mt/year to 7.5 Mt/year of thermal product coal (New Hope Group, 2012, p. 8, 2014b, p. 1-8). The Queensland Government reported resources at the expansion site to be 500 to 1000 Mt (Queensland Government, 2013a).

The project includes mining in three new pits (Manning Vale West, Manning Vale East and Willeroo) (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 3-1) using open-cut mining techniques. This will progressively extend current mining activities to parts of the Manning Vale and Willeroo resources.

Out-of-pit spoil dumps will be created to accommodate material that is beyond the dumping capacity of the pit but will be kept to a minimum as most waste will be used to progressively back‑fill the pits (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 3-34). A life-of-mine development schedule shows progressive pit development per financial year from 2017–18 through to 2027–29, generally showing mining progressing from north to south across each pit over time (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 3-21).

Water usage for the revised project is estimated to be 3300 ML/year (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 2-19). Water supply for the project will primarily be sourced from on-site storage, but can be supplemented by external water supply. Water from the site’s disturbed area will be diverted to sediment dams for treatment and possible reuse to supplement the mine’s supply and potentially contaminated water will receive additional levels of treatment and will be preferentially reused onsite (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 40). The main external water supply option is from the Toowoomba Regional Council Wetella Wastewater Reclamation Facility (WWRF) (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 2-19) via a long term contract to the year 2055 that allows New Acland Coal to purchase up to 5550 ML/year from the WWRF utilising a 45 km pipeline that was constructed in 2009 (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 2-19, 3-79). Potable water will be sourced from aquifers via groundwater bores, treated on-site by a reverse osmosis treatment plant (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 3-79). New Hope Coal currently has a groundwater use licensed capacity of up to 1412 ML/year (New Hope Group, 2014b, p.2-19). A small amount of additional water (up to 150 ML/year) may be sourced from the Oakey Reverse Osmosis Water treatment plant (New Hope Group, 2014b, p. 3-79, 5-4).

Last updated:
5 January 2018
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