1.2 Resource assessment for the Sydney Basin bioregion

Executive summary

SBB Hawkesbury River harbour by s_lilin on CC BY 2-0

The coal and coal seam gas resource assessment for the Sydney Basin bioregion summarises the known coal and coal seam gas resources and developments as of October 2016.

Coal and coal seam gas resources

Most of the coal in the Sydney Basin bioregion is sourced from the Southern Coalfield, near Wollongong. The Sydney Basin is renowned for its premium-quality hard coking coals, which occur mainly in the Bulli seam and are extracted from depths of more than 400 metres using underground methods. The coal is used by the domestic and international steel industry.

A significant amount of coal is also mined from the Western Coalfield, which occurs in the Blue Mountains near Lithgow.

While there are opportunities for coal seam gas operations in the Southern Coalfield, the coal seam gas potential of the Western Coalfields is low.

Current activity and tenements

There were eight commercial coal mines in the Sydney Basin bioregion as of October 2016. Most coal mines in the Sydney Basin bioregion are underground operations producing both thermal and coking coal for domestic and export markets.

Nine additional mines were under care and maintenance, mainly due to reserve depletion or prevailing economic conditions.

There was one active coal seam gas operation in the Sydney Basin bioregion, at Camden, 65 kilometres south-west of Sydney.

Proposals and exploration

As of October 2016 there were 12 coal mine development projects at various stages of assessment in the Sydney Basin bioregion ‒ ten of which were for underground mining operations. Half of these proposed developments sought to expand existing mines including Airly, Angus Place, Russell Vale, Springvale, Wongawilli and Pine Dale.

Five identified black coal deposits in the Western Coalfield were not the subject of any mine development proposal.

As of October 2016 no new coal seam gas development projects were expected.

Last updated:
21 January 2019