3 Stage one of the coal resource development pathway – data and information inputs

Stage one is focused on collating and understanding the data and information required to develop the coal resource development pathway. Important to the success of each BA is a comprehensive understanding of the geological and spatial (three-dimensional) extents, resource characteristics (tonnage, rank and grade) and potential viable development options for the known coal and coal seam gas (CSG) resources. At the bioregional or subregional scale in BAs, this requires the compilation and synthesis of multiple geoscience and resource-focused datasets. These are discussed under various thematic subheadings within this section. They provide direct inputs into relevant sections of the coal and coal seam gas resource assessment (companion product 1.2).

By systematically working through and understanding these data inputs, each Assessment team will have a consistent framework for completing coal and CSG resource assessments. This process represents stage one of the overall workflow needed to determine the coal resource development pathway, as shown in Table 3. These initial efforts are an important step in the BAs as they provide Assessment teams with the requisite background knowledge to understand and develop the most likely coal resource development pathway (for their respective bioregion or subregion) during the later analysis stage of Component 2.

Information is provided below on each of the main data themes (subheadings), including explanation of why they are important and examples of where information may be obtained. These subheadings should be used by Assessment teams as a guide when writing their coal and CSG resource assessments so that a consistent set of information is provided across all bioregional assessments.

3.1 Geological and spatial context

The first step in describing the coal resource development pathway for each bioregion or subregion is to understand its geological characteristics, particularly relating to the distribution of coal-bearing strata in the sedimentary basin (or basins) of interest. Some of this information will already be documented in the geology section of the contextual statement (Section 1.1.3 in companion product 1.1) and will not need to be explicitly included in the coal and CSG resource assessment (companion product 1.2). However, the following geological and spatial (three‑dimensional) information for each bioregion or subregion forms the foundation for understanding the basin-scale coal resources:

  • the geological structure and stratigraphic framework of the coal-bearing basin, especially as they relate to coal resources. This should include identifying the main coal-bearing strata (include groups, formations, down to level of individual coal members if such data are available). All stratigraphic units identified in this phase must be validated as the most current, formal unit names as per the Australian Stratigraphic Units Database (Geoscience Australia and ASC, 2014). This information feeds directly into Section 1.2.1 of companion product 1.2
  • the tectonic framework of the basin, including both the syntectonic (i.e. tectonic setting during deposition of the coal-bearing strata) and post-tectonic regimes that have influenced basin development. An understanding of basin tectonics is important as it plays a major role in determining the distribution and availability of coal resources, as well as their interactions with aquifer systems. Neotectonic (geologically recent) processes may also be important in considering the evolution of the current landscape, and the interaction of groundwater flow patterns in different aquifer systems
  • the main geological characteristics of the coal-bearing units in the bioregion or subregion, such as:
    • spatial extent and depth below surface. If possible, existing maps of the spatial distribution of coal-bearing formations in the subsurface may be evaluated, such as those that show depth to tops of coal formations or isopachs (stratigraphic thickness) across each region. However, such maps, or the raw datasets used to create them, may not be readily available for all basins of interest. Assessment teams will evaluate the reliability and usefulness of any coal distribution maps that may be available and decide if they are worthwhile inputs for Section 1.2.1 of companion product 1.2
    • nature of overlying and underlying strata, as a guide to understanding potential hydraulic connectivity issues that may be important for modelling impacts of CSG extraction, as well as mining or petroleum reservoir engineering considerations
    • age of coals and their main parameters (e.g. rank, type and grade for coal, gas contents and gas saturation levels for CSG), particularly information on any spatial variability of these important features
    • extent and type of faulting and structural disruption of coal-bearing strata
    • interpreted depositional environments and sedimentary facies.

3.2 Known coal and coal seam gas resources

Having researched the geological structure and composition of the sedimentary basin, the next step is to identify the location and main features of the known coal and CSG resource projects or deposits. This can be compiled from published information available on the size, quality and areal and depth extents of coal resources, such as by state government agencies or from published national resource databases such as OZMIN (Ewers et al., 2002) or the Register of Australian Mining (RIU, 2014). The type and quality of available data for this inventory will likely vary among bioregions, and consequently it is up to each Assessment team to determine the extent to which such relevant information can be compiled and reported. A summary of useful data sources is in Table 4, with more detailed information in Appendix D.

Table 4 Sources of data and information on coal and coal seam gas resources for bioregional assessments

Data source


Main reference



Geoscience Australia

Ewers et al. (2002)

OZMIN contains geological and resource information on Australia’s mineral deposits, including black and brown coal, although petroleum resources (including CSG) are not included.

Register of Australian mining

Resource Information Unit

RIU (2014)

An online database with mining-related information such as mines, development projects, exploration and mining companies, and mineral-specific resource data.

Australian atlas of mineral resources, mines and processing centres

  • Geoscience Australia
  • Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
  • Mineral Council of Australia

Geoscience Australia, DRET and MCA (2012)

This is an interactive web mapping tool to locate Australia’s mines and resources, and also compile datasets using various search criteria.


NSW Government

NSW Trade and Investment (2014a)

Minview provides online display and query of NSW tenement information and geoscience data.

Digital Imaging Geological Systems (DIGS)

NSW Government

NSW Trade and Investment (2014b)

DIGS is an online database containing open-file company exploration reports, NSW departmental publications, maps and titles information. It also has records of coal and petroleum exploration activities.

Interactive Resource and Tenure Maps (IRTM)

Queensland Government

Queensland DNRM (2014a)

The IRTM provides online access to Queensland geological and resources information and data.

Queensland Digital Exploration reports (QDEX)

Queensland Government

Queensland DNRM (2014b)

QDEX is the database of Queensland exploration company reports, including those for coal and CSG. It contains open-file reports submitted digitally since 2004 and older reports (scanned copies).

South Australian Resource Information Geoserver (SARIG)

SA Government

SA DMITRE (2014)

SARIG provides access to SA geological and geoscientific data including tenements for mineral, petroleum and geothermal companies, mines, advanced exploration projects and mineral deposits, geoscientific data, and publications, maps and reports.


Victorian Government

Victorian DSDBI (2014)

Geovic contains Victorian geoscience datasets, including mineral and petroleum tenements, geophysical survey data, well data, mines, and geological maps and sections.

Although this is not an exhaustive listing of all possible information sources relating to coal and CSG, it is a useful initial compilation to assist Assessment teams.

An important component for the coal and CSG resource assessment (companion product 1.2 for each bioregion or subregion) is to ensure that all available and up-to-date resource statements are compiled and included in the assessment. In line with current resource reporting requirements (Appendix A) these statements are released by many exploration and development companies when new resource estimates are generated, for example, as company announcements to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). A useful step when developing companion product 1.2 is to tabulate this type of published resources data, along with information on the project name, development companies, location, tonnage and any other relevant project details. These tables effectively form the basis for the catalogue of potential resource developments (Section 1.2.4 of companion product 1.2), the starting point for the coal resource development pathway. As part of this work it is also helpful to display all of the identified coal and CSG resource locations on a regional-scale map. This type of data compilation will assist in developing a thorough understanding of each coal or CSG resource which, in turn, helps populate the coal resource development pathway.

Although largely beyond scope for providing input for companion product 1.2 (except, possibly, for certain greenfield subregions), useful information on some coal and CSG resources and host rock sequences may be extracted from publicly available reports (open-file) on drilling results from prior exploration and well development testing. Information obtained from this type of primary data evaluation may also be useful and relevant to other components of BAs, such as compiling data registers (companion product 1.6) and undertaking observational and statistical data analysis and interpolation (companion products 2.1 and 2.2). However, this exercise may not be appropriate to all bioregions, and the potential benefits should be judged by each Assessment team, based on knowledge of their specific bioregion or subregion and their assessment of the merits and usefulness of accessing such information.

Other sources of information on regional-scale coal and CSG resources include various publications released by Australian and state government agencies and academic institutions. A particularly useful reference for many basins that contain black coal is the Bureau of Mineral Resources Bulletin on the Permian coals of eastern Australia (Harrington et al., 1989). A useful recent publication on most Australian CSG reserves and resources is the report, Eastern and southern Australia: existing gas reserves and resources (Core Energy Group, 2012).

3.3 Resource exploration history and development

In developing the coal resource development pathway for each bioregion or subregion, it is important to understand the basin-scale exploration and development history for coal and CSG. Consequently, a brief overview of the history of exploration is useful to include in Section 1.2.3 of companion product 1.2. This review may address questions such as:

  • when exploration first started and which companies were involved
  • what the outcomes of this work were
  • when the initial discoveries for coal and CSG were made
  • how resource development has proceeded since the initial discoveries
  • have there been any peaks or troughs in the exploration and development cycle.

Briefly outlining this exploration history helps to assess the level of exploration and development maturity in the basin, thereby implicitly indicating potential for new resource discoveries or upgrades to existing deposits. This historical perspective should be written as a brief qualitative overview. The key reason for addressing this issue is to indicate the level of uncertainty around the potential for new exploration discoveries to be made at some future stage. Assessing such uncertainty (even qualitatively) provides a simple proxy for the likely time frame that the proposed coal resource development pathway may remain valid (see Section 4.4). Significant ‘new’ exploration successes (i.e. of large and previously unknown deposits) are more likely to occur in relatively greenfield areas, indicating that the most likely coal resource development pathway proposed for such bioregions or subregions may not remain valid for as long as those with a more ‘mature’ exploration history. In brownfield areas, exploration successes are more likely to identify an additional resource base for current mining operations, thereby potentially leading to future expansion proposals rather than new mines.

For the purposes of BAs, this information can be adequately summarised from existing basin-wide review papers or publications (e.g. such as those released by state government mining or resource departments or as part of academic reviews). Such brief exploration summaries are likely to be available for most sedimentary basins in Australia. However, developing this type of exploration summary using a ‘first principles’ approach of researching exploration company tenement reports or well-completion reports is generally beyond the scope of the Programme.

3.4 Distribution of coal and petroleum exploration tenements

For BAs it is necessary to identify the coal and CSG exploration tenements and the companies that currently hold these exploration titles in each bioregion or subregion. Tenement information is held by state government agencies that administer the distribution and regulation of mining and mineral exploration (for coal resources), and petroleum exploration and development (for CSG). These datasets are freely available from state governments and are regularly updated (weekly to monthly) as tenement status changes over time. Tenement data has been sourced from all relevant jurisdictions as part of the BAs and will be consulted to develop the description of resource company exploration and development activity. Much of this information is publicly available from online web mapping systems (or in Google Earth format) that are operated by various state government departments responsible for resources, mining and energy (see Section 3.2 of this submethodology and Appendix D).

Publicly available information on listed resource companies will also be investigated as part of this stage, as it may provide further indication about the geology or resource characteristics of interest. Published information relating to resource companies is available from various state or national sources, such as:

  • state government agencies and their websites (Table 4 and Appendix D)
  • Register of Australian Mining (RIU, 2014)
  • recent exploration successes, which are described by commodity and listed for relevant 2012 exploration results in the Australian Mineral Resource Assessment, including relevant sections on coal resources (Geoscience Australia and BREE, 2013)
  • Australian Mineral Exploration – A Review of Exploration for the Year (a report compiled nationally and available annually since 2000). For example, Senior and Skirrow (2013) is the current version, with publications for previous years also available from the Geoscience Australia website
  • Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources – an annually published series (since 1992) which is accessible via the Geoscience Australia website. For example, McKay et al. (2014) is the current version available for download, although the back catalogue of annual publications can also be obtained from the same website listed in the references section.
  • Many publicly listed companies also provide access to corporate presentations or annual reports via their websites. Consequently, once all tenement holders in a bioregion or subregion are known, online searches of their exploration holdings and recent tenement activities may provide access to more up-to-date technical or development planning information for some resource projects.

Section 1.2.2 of companion product 1.2 for each bioregion or subregion provides a table and map showing all of the mining and exploration companies that currently hold ground in the area. The table may contain other relevant information about the tenements or companies involved, such as the company type (public or private-listed company), number of tenements held and the status of their holdings. A simple map showing the distribution and type of current coal and CSG exploration and production tenements (or applications for same) for each bioregion or subregion will be included in resource assessment reports.

3.5 Current status of coal and coal seam gas development

For each coal or CSG resource identified during the initial assessment, it is important to collate data relevant to the present development status. This requires an understanding of the current extent, distribution and capacity of coal mining activity and CSG production in the bioregion or subregion (if any). This will help determine the nature of the baseline of coal and CSG development. In the context of the BAs, the baseline development situation includes all coal mines and CSG operations that were engaged in commercial production (i.e. operating mines or wellfields) as of the last quarter (calendar year) of 2012. Thus, resource projects that have come into commercial operation after 31 December 2012 are not considered in the baseline situation, but instead are included in the coal resource development pathway. The end of 2012 was selected as the coal resource development pathway baseline cut-off date as it is the last complete year of resource-related activity prior to the official start of the Bioregional Assessment Programme in early 2013.

The suggested information inputs for the resource development baseline include (but are not limited to):

  • location of active coal mines and CSG production facilities (it is useful to highlight the spatial distribution of these on a map in companion product 1.2)
  • location of any coal or CSG resource feasibility or pilot production studies
  • listing of companies currently involved in exploring, developing or mining coal, or producing CSG, from the bioregion or subregion. In particular, it is useful to identify if the company is privately owned or publicly listed on the ASX and if it is a subsidiary of a larger parent company, as well as other relevant company-specific information
  • background information about the resource discovery and feasibility studies is also worthwhile and may include details such as the companies involved, the year of discovery and the exploration methods used. However, it is noted that access to this type of information may not always be readily available, so each Assessment team will need to determine if these details can be included
  • characteristics of current mining operations, such as the size and grade of the mineable resource, the start-up date of mining, the amount mined per year (tonnage), the estimated mining life remaining, and the extraction methods used (i.e. open cut or underground)
  • three-dimensional extents of existing mining operations, including total surface area covered and the depth of operations, as well as the planned extents of future mining or production activity under the currently approved operations. Other useful information is the number and type of open-cut pits in the current development and brief description of any underground workings
  • understanding of infrastructure layout that exists in the bioregion or subregion, particularly relevant to transporting the extracted coal resources to market. Access to existing infrastructure such as rail networks (for transporting coal) or gas pipelines may be a limiting factor for future development to proceed. For example, major greenfield developments will generally be more costly and less attractive development options (at least initially) than areas that already have existing infrastructure that can be readily accessed to deliver resources to market. Knowledge of such information can help to inform Assessment teams about the likely timeframe of development within the bioregion or subregion.

The full-scale commercial development of coal or CSG (i.e. resource extraction) involves a number of progressive stages in the overall resource supply chain (Appendix C). Resource development usually starts with the initial exploration success that identifies the potential for a deposit of sufficient scale and quality to be commercially viable. The decision to progress from one stage to the next stage is usually based on a variety of factors, including geological, engineering, environmental and commercial.

The nomenclature to use in BAs for describing the development status of a mineral deposit is provided in Table 5, based on input from the Coal and Coal Seam Gas Advice Section at Geoscience Australia (S Cadman (Geoscience Australia), 2013, pers. comm.). Although other classification schemes exist (e.g. refer to nomenclature in Geoscience Australia and BREE, 2013), to ensure consistency across the Bioregional Assessment Programme it is recommended to use the terms in Table 5 for resource assessment and coal resource development pathway reporting for all bioregions and subregions.

Table 5 Development categories for coal mines



Operating mine

Either open-cut or underground mining operation in commercial production

Mine under care and maintenance

A mine that has been in production until relatively recently but has been ‘mothballed’ due to the prevailing economic conditions (the implication is that the mine will be brought back into production if the economic environment improves)

Historical mine

A mine that has ceased production for an extended period of time and is unlikely to be brought back into production

Resource development project - feasibility stage

More detailed evaluation of project characteristics being undertaken and there is a significant possibility that a coal mining operation will proceed

Pre-feasibility stage (scoping)

An initial study is underway to determine the possibility that a coal mining operation will proceed

Deposit evaluation

A significant coal deposit is known to exist, although it is uncertain (due to lack of knowledge of resource characteristics) if a coal mining operation is viable

Coal deposit

A coal deposit is known to exist, although there is insufficient knowledge of the deposit to determine if it is economic or subeconomic

Advanced exploration

Coal is known to exist within the title, based on drilling of boreholes, sampling, analyses, geotechnical and hydrogeological studies, etc. Information in the final report to be used as a basis for succeeding feasibility studies

Grass roots exploration

Initial exploration in greenfield areas – unknown if coal exists within the title

This scheme can also be readily modified to describe the development stages of CSG resources, although aspects of process and terminology will vary. For example, coal seam gas developments may refer to gas fields or gas projects, rather than coal mines or coal projects

Information to assist Assessment teams in understanding the development history of a particular resource, or of the company or joint venture involved in the operation, may also be published in various mining and resource trade journals. These include publications such as Mining Australia or the Australian Journal of Mining. It is recommended that, as part of the research to evaluate current coal and CSG operations, these types of publications should be accessed for relevant articles. Most such journals provide searchable access to their back catalogue of publications and simple searches of these archives (based on resource deposit names or development companies) may provide further information as part of the wider resource assessment or coal resource development pathway analysis. As previously mentioned in this section (with full details in the references section of this submethodology), other useful sources of information at this stage of the assessment include:

3.6 Proposed coal and coal seam gas resource developments

By this stage of working through the coal resource development pathway submethodology, Assessment teams will have comprehensive information on coal and CSG deposit names, locations, sizes, known resource qualities and quantities, stratigraphic host sequences and other relevant geological and resource-specific features. This information, which effectively informs the baseline situation for current coal resource activity in the bioregion, is important to compile and evaluate before proceeding to stage two of the submethodology.

Following characterisation of the baseline, the next step involves researching detailed plans proposed by resource development companies for future resource extraction in the bioregion or subregion. In most cases, the more advanced development proposals are covered by a mining lease (or mining lease application), signifying that development of future mining operations are considered likely for that resource. These resources can include ‘virgin’ deposits that are not currently mined, as well as proposed plans to expand or modify existing operations, for instance, in response to additional resources being added to the mine reserves through further brownfield exploration

In the course of mining and ongoing exploration work near an existing mine site (brownfield exploration) resource development companies may discover extensions to the size, shape or quality of the deposit. As the extraction of these resources may not be factored into the original mine design, new plans to extract these additional resources are needed. These expansion plans must be submitted to the relevant state government regulatory body (and also to Australian Government agencies in the case of referrals under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) to initiate the start of further assessment procedures such as an environmental impact statement (EIS).

Other important input for deciding which resources will be included in the coal resource development pathway includes data and information submitted as part of current (or recent) EIS submissions, which are commonly made available online as part of the EIS review process. Assessment teams will access all relevant EIS documentation to evaluate proposed resource developments during the course of their evaluation. The relevant state government departments[3] responsible for administering and providing access to EIS documentation are:

  • NSW – project proposals in NSW with potential to adversely impact the environment due to their size, nature or location are termed ‘designated developments’. These require submission of an EIS through NSW Planning and Environment (NSW Planning and Environment, 2014a). Many mining or petroleum extraction operations are also considered to be State Significant Developments (SSD). There are specific development assessment guidelines that apply to EIS for coal mines and associated infrastructure, as well as separate guidelines for CSG developments. In addition, the recent NSW Government Strategic Regional Land Use Policy stipulates that for any proposed mining or CSG developments on areas of strategic agricultural land, an initial ‘Gateway assessment’ (undertaken by a panel of independent scientific experts) is required before applications can be submitted for development (NSW Planning and Environment, 2014b). Documentation submitted for both current and recently completed EIS will be consulted by Assessment teams working in NSW bioregions.
  • Queensland – the Queensland Office of the Coordinator-General oversees the evaluation of project proposals that have the potential to cause major environmental, social or economic impacts (in Queensland these are known as ‘coordinated projects’). The development of new mining or CSG production facilities, or the expansion of existing operations, requires an EIS to be submitted. Information from the Queensland Coordinator-General’s office will provide important inputs for all bioregions and subregions in Queensland (Queensland C-G, 2014). Additional information on coal and CSG developments may also be sourced from other Queensland Government agencies involved in their administration and/or regulation, such as the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection which administers many environmentally relevant resource activities that require an environmental authority to operate (Queensland Government, 2014).
  • SA – proposed coal mines, expansions and CSG developments in SA are likely to be classed as major developments due to their potential economic, social and environmental impacts. The South Australian Development Assessment Commission (DAC) determines if the proposal requires submission of an EIS (SA DAC, 2014).
  • Victoria – development projects that have potentially significant environmental impacts, such as new mines and expansions, are required to prepare an environmental effects statement (EES) under Victorian planning legislation. The Victorian Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure are responsible for managing the assessment and approvals process for EES (Victorian DTPLI, 2014). Similar to other jurisdictions the EES process involves scoping, preparation, public review and final assessment decisions. BAs in Victoria (such as for the Gippsland bioregion) will consult the list of current and completed EES to develop their coal resource development pathway.

Important information for BAs sought via state government regulatory channels may include:

  • project development documents that provide the location plans for existing mines, or proposed developments
  • companies involved in the development plans
  • extent and type of proposed resource development, for example, a new development or a capacity expansion to an existing production facility
  • type of mining or extractive methods to be used
  • stages and timing of proposed development – including available details on expected construction and start-up time, date of expected full production, anticipated life‑of‑operations and whether there are likely to be multiple stages of activity
  • plans for management of extractive by-products such as overburden waste
  • infrastructure requirements, including layout of existing and proposed infrastructure such as roads, railways and pipelines, etc.
  • for CSG operations, it is useful to evaluate how widespread hydraulic fracturing will need to be to ensure successful development. Thus, it is helpful to briefly describe the variables and parameters that determine if hydraulic fracturing of coal seams may be required in the bioregion
  • rehabilitation plans – including recognition of land proposed to be off-set for ecological conservation to account for areas that will be subject to intensive mining development and loss of natural habitat.

Some of these details will be included by Assessment teams in Section 1.2.3 of companion product 1.2 and will also be necessary to support decisions on the mix of resource projects described in the coal resource development pathway (reported in companion product 2.3).

3.6.1 Note on environmental impact statement documentation for coal resource developments

Most EIS documentation contains a significant amount of information that may feed directly to other components of the bioregional assessment, including those not directly related to the nature of the coal and CSG resources. For example, EIS documents may identify assets (including, but not limited to, water-dependent assets) that the proponent believes may be affected by the proposed development activity. Although documentation and analysis of this and other additional information in EIS is beyond the scope of work specific to the coal and CSG resource assessment and the coal resource development pathway, Assessment teams are encouraged to flag items of potential interest where noted as part of their EIS review, especially where such information is likely to be useful for other discipline themes of the BA. Some of these data or information could then be used for subsequent analysis, modelling and interpretation in other BA components. These decisions will be made using the judgment of respective Assessment teams, and will likely form a standard part of EIS data review and assessment.

3.6.2 Discussion of water management in the coal resource assessment and development pathway

Detailed quantitative information on surface water and groundwater management, including details of mine dewatering and co-produced CSG water volumes and quality, is critical information for BAs. However, the cataloguing, description and analysis of this type of water-related data does not form part of either the coal and CSG resource assessment report (companion product 1.2), or the coal resource development pathway description (part of companion product 2.3). Instead, this type of information is assessed and reported in other BA products, such as companion product 1.5 (about current water accounts and water quality) and companion product 2.5 (about water balance assessment) (Table 2). However, there is scope in companion product 1.2 for Assessment teams to provide a brief qualitative description of significant water-related issues associated with resource development. For example, this may include brief discussion if mining activities are likely to result in diversion of a surface water body, or whether target coal seams for CSG production are stratigraphically or structurally adjacent to important aquifers.

3.7 Bringing the data together for the coal resource development pathway

By working consistently through the main themes presented in this section, each Assessment team will be able to compile the range of data and information needed as the starting point for their analysis (in BA Component 2) to determine the coal resource development pathway for specific bioregions or subregions. This process is discussed in the next section (Section 4).

The main data themes discussed here in Section 3 provide direct contextual inputs that cover the four parts of companion product 1.2 (Table 3). Thus, the information compiled by each Assessment team during this research stage will be used as the basis for writing these sections. For example, the information needed to write Section 1.2.1 of companion product 1.2 (about available coal and coal seam gas resources) can be sourced from understanding the geological and spatial context of the bioregion (see Section 3.1. of this submethodology), coupled with information on the known coal and CSG resources (see Section 3.2). An overview of the main information requirements to include in each section of companion product 1.2 is outlined in Table 6. As with most of BA Component 1 (contextual information), this list of suggested content depends on the availability of fit-for-purpose data, and it may not be possible to include all of this content for every bioregion or subregion.

Table 6 Recommended content for companion product 1.2

Section number

Title of section

Main content to include in section


Available coal and coal seam gas resources

  • describe geology relevant to coal resources, clearly identifying the main coal‑bearing stratigraphic groups and formations, including their age and any significant compositional or geological architectural features
  • characterise the spatial distribution of coal-bearing strata, including both areal and depth extents. It may be possible to present this distribution on maps and/or cross‑sections
  • identify important geological features or parameters that significantly influence the distribution of coal resources, for example, structural elements or depositional facies
  • outline the parameters of the main coal units, such as type, rank and grade
  • it is useful to include a basin-scale stratigraphic chart that identifies the various coal members in each sedimentary basin of the bioregion or subregion


Current activity and tenements

  • identify current coal mines or CSG production sites by name and describe location, resource target and any other significant site features
  • describe the main characteristics of each mine or CSG operation, such as start-up date, expected duration, extraction methods used, areal and depth extents, number of existing pits, shafts or wells, etc.
  • provide brief overview of the extraction process, mine-site facilities, operational infrastructure and supply chain to market
  • outline the current stage in the overall development and extraction of the resource, and summarise information about the expected future mining or CSG production operations that are planned to occur
  • tabulate information on the companies involved in owning and/or operating existing production sites, including names and status (public or private, national or international)
  • tabulate and map the existing coal and hydrocarbon exploration, mining and production tenements for the bioregion or subregion, including information on tenement numbers, owners/operators, size, purpose, etc.
  • identify and briefly describe any historical coal mining operations (no longer operating), such as their duration, quantity and quality of resources extracted, reason for closure, etc.


Proposals and exploration

  • provide brief review of the exploration history in the bioregion or subregion to indicate exploration maturity (e.g. greenfield vs. brownfield) and the likely potential for new discoveries
  • briefly outline the main focus areas and identify the active companies and methods of current exploration for coal and CSG resources. It may be useful to explain any major changes of exploration focus or history, if relevant. The main exploration areas should be shown on a map of the bioregion or subregion
  • based on available information, for instance from EIS documentation or consultation with development companies, tabulate the current status of proposed new or expanded coal resource developments, identify proponents, projected start-up dates and operational duration, likely tonnage and grade, expected annual production rates, etc.
  • describe main resource, engineering, mining and production aspects of proposed developments, including total development area and depths, extraction techniques, overburden and waste rock management, processing facilities and methods
  • outline proposed market for resources to be sold and mention expected transport mechanism to reach markets, as well as if new infrastructure is required to be built
  • brief outline of projected costings for development, such as capital expenditure and operations (if available)
  • describe the proposed rehabilitation and post-operational closure plans for the production site
  • note the past and expected future extent and magnitude of hydraulic fracturing for CSG operations


Catalogue of potential resource developments

  • tabulate all identified coal resources known in the bioregion or subregion, using most current estimates available (e.g. by deposit or project name and mention if compiled in accordance with the JORC Code) and describe or map their distribution, size, grade and other important characteristics (an example of this information table is in Section 4)
  • similar to coal resources, tabulate and map (could be same map as for coal resources) all identified CSG resources in the bioregion or subregion

JORC = Joint Ore Reserves Committee. CSG = coal seam gas

Last updated:
11 December 2018