Dartbrook Mine Overview

Filed in Key Issues, Recent News by April 8, 2019

AUSTRALIAN Pacific Coal, the owners of the underground Dartbrook coal mine, located approximately four kilometres west of Aberdeen, are considering challenging a decision made by the Independent Planning Commission not to grant a licence extension for the mine.

In August, the Independent Planning Commission approved modifications to restart the mine using bord-and-pillar methods instead of longwall mining and make changes to their coal delivery and handling, but refused to extend the mining licence for five years.

The Company has until November 8 to lodge an appeal with the NSW Land and Environment Court.

See related stories below.

Milestones:

  • 2006: Anglo American coal placed the underground mine into care and maintenance mode. Reasons for the shut-down in operations: Dartbrook Mine.
  • 2015: On Christmas eve Anglo American announced it was selling its interests in Dartbrook underground coal mine to Australian Pacific Coal for $50 million.
  • 2016: Australian Pacific Coal stated it intended to convert the mine to an open cut operation producing 5 million tonnes of coal per year and employing 205 full time local jobs.
    • February: Nathan Tinkler, managing director and chief executive officer of Australian Pacific Coal, resigned from the Company in February 2016 due to bankruptcy proceedings. Read: Tinkler Resigns.
  • 2017: In May ACP finalised its acquisition of Dartbrook from Anglo American.
  • 2018: APC released a study which confirmed the technical and financial viability of the mine to become an open cut operation. Read: the Study.
    • February: ACP lodged submission to make modifications to the underground operation.
  • 2019: January – NSW Department of Primary Industries made the recommendation for approval.
    • April: Planning Assessment Commission to hear from the community on the recommendation.
    • August: The Independent Planning Commissions gave approval for the mine to recommence operations using bord-and-pillar mining, instead of longwalling and make modifications to their coal handling, but refused to give a five year extension to their mining approval, which ends on December 5, 2022.

Overview of the Mine:

Proximity of other open cut operations to Dartbrook mine. Map from Australian Pacific Coal.

Proximity of other open cut operations to Dartbrook mine, with dotted line showing Shire boarder. Map from Australian Pacific Coal.

  • The mine leases and permits cover 3,800 hectares, which includes 3,400 hectares of free hold land incorporating the potential open cut mining area.
  • The majority of the current mining operation is within the Muswellbrook Shire area, but the total mining lease area also lies within the Upper Hunter Shire area. See map below.
  • APC estimates the coal resource at the mine is 1.2 billion tonnes based on coal to depths of 350 metres being accessible to open cut mining in lease 1497. Read: Dartbrook Estimates 1.2 billion Tonnes.
  • Coal quality data indicates the thermal coal at Dartbrook has the potential to produce an 8 percent ash (air dried basis), has a high calorific value of 6,200-6,300 kcal/kg gross as-received and low sulphur content. Read: Newcastle Coal Data.

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