Appin mine

From Global Energy Monitor

The Appin mine is an underground, metallurgical coal mine owned and operated by Illawarra Coal located in Appin, New South Wales, Australia.

Illawarra Coal is a subsidiary of South32 which in turn is spun off from BHP[1] which reverted from BHP Billiton back to BHP in November 2018.

Coal is exported via Port Kembla Coal Terminal[2] which Illawarra coal has a 16.7% ownership interest.[3] Coal is sold to North Asia, India, Europe and the emerging market of South East Asia as well as domestic sales to steel mills.[4]

As of June 2019 Illawara Coal believes that there is a 19 year reserve at Appin.[5]


The undated image below shows the exact location of the Appin mine head.

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Coal Mine Background

In September 2018 the expansion of the Bulli seam was approved which enables the company to open several underground longwall areas and upgrade the existing West Cliffe washery.[6]

In June 2017 South32 withdrew the workforce from its Appin mine in Australia as a precautionary measure against a gas leak.[7] Workers returned to one of the longwall faces in October that year but full production is only expected to be resumed in 2020.[3]

In its 2009 annual report, BHP Billiton reported that the Appin mine "commenced in 1962 with longwall mining starting in 1969."[8]

Illawarra Coal's 2008 Sustainability report lists production at the mine as being 1.972 million tonnes.[9] [10]

At 11:00pm on July 24, 1979 methane gas exploded underground at the Appin coal mine on the south-west fringe of Sydney, killing 14 men. The mining company was found guilty of negligence during a subsequent inquest.[11]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Illawarra Coal[12]
  • Parent Company: South32[12]
  • Location: Appin, New South Wales
  • GPS Coordinates: -34.211194,150.792736 (exact)
  • Status: Operating[13]
  • Production Capacity: 7.5 mtpa in 2019[2] expected to increase to 8 million tonnes in 2020[3]
  • Total Resource: 1235 million tonnes[13]
  • Mineable Reserves: 130 million tonnes[3] or 141Mt (85 Mt at Appin; 56 Mt at West Cliff) [14]
  • Coal type: Metallurgical coal[13]
  • Mine Size:
  • Mine Type: Underground, longwall mining[5]
  • Mine Depth: 500 m[15]
  • Start Year: 1962[16]
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and Resources


  1. BHP Billiton "BHP Billiton entities change names", 21 November 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 South32, "Illawarra Metallurgical Coal Site Tour", pdf, slide 14, 20 June 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 South32, "Illawarra Metallurgical Coal Site Tour", pdf, slide 8, 20 June 2019.
  4. South32, "Illawarra Metallurgical Coal Site Tour", pdf, slide 13, 20 June 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 South32, "Illawarra Metallurgical Coal Site Tour", pdf, slide 4, 20 June 2019.
  6. Department of Environment and Energy, "How BHP Billiton's debt decision set South32 free", Australian Government, 20 September 2018.
  7. Alliance News, "South32 Warns Of "Extended Outage" At Appin Mine In Australia", Morning Star, 10 July 2018.
  8. BHP Billiton, 2009 BHP Billiton Annual Report, BHP Billiton, September 2009, pages 43-54.
  9. James Thomson and Matthew Stevens, "How BHP Billiton's debt decision set South32 free", Financial Review, 31 March 2017.
  10. Illawarra Coal, "2008 Sustainability Report", BHP Billiton, page 5.
  11. Nick Rheinberger and Caitlin Dugan, "Appin coal mine explosion still felt 40 years after 14 miners were killed", ABC news, 23 July 2019.
  12. 12.0 12.1 South32, "Illawarra Metallurgical Coal Site Tour", pdf, page 1, 20 June 2019.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 South32, "Illawarra Metallurgical Coal Site Tour", pdf, slide 3, 20 June 2019.
  14. Form 20F SEC, accessed November 2020
  15. Appin Colliery, Illawarra Coal website, accessed September 2020
  16. Pall Corporation, "BHP Billiton Receives Environmental Award", pdf, page 1, 2008.

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