Ashton coal mine
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The Ashton coal mine is an existing coal mine operated by Chinese-owned Yancoal. It is located less than a kilometre away from the village of Camberwell, 14 km northwest of Singleton in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, Australia.
In 2010, Yancoal proposed an extension project for an open-cut mine called Ashton South East. In 2015, the project was approved for a seven-year extension, however, construction was dependent on an acquisition of land from a local land owner. As a result of the land owner refusing to sell, and the approval lapsing in April 2022, the Ashton South East open-cut coal mine extension has been cancelled.
The undated image below shows the exact location of the existing mine. It lies very close to the village of Camberwell, New South Wales, Australia.
Coal Mine Background
In 2009, Yancoal completed the successful takeover of Felix Resources, which proposed the mine.
In 2010 Yancoal proposed extending the Ashton South East open-cut mine: an $83m project to extract 16.5m tonnes of coal over seven years. An initial objection on grounds of air and water pollution was overturned on appeal in 2012 and the expansion was given the go-ahead by the New South Wales state government’s planning assessment commission.
As announced 20 November 2015, the New South Wales Court of Appeal determined to uphold a condition attached to the Ashton South East Open Cut Project Approval granted by the NSW Land and Environment Court on 27 August 2014. The condition provided that no development work associated with the Project can occur until Ashton Coal Operations has acquired a privately owned property, which forms part of the proposed mining area. The owner has no intention of selling to the coal company.
In February 2016, Yancoal announced a new debt funding arrangement to secure up to US$950 million via the issuing of nine-year secured debt bonds by a newly established Yancoal subsidiary, Watagan Mining Company, to a consortium of financiers comprising Industrial Bank Co., BOCI Financial Products Limited and United NSW Energy Limited. From March 2016, Yancoal ceased to control the Ashton mine as well as the Austar and Donaldson assets, but remains the exclusive provider of mine management, marketing, infrastructure and other corporate support services under 10-year contracts.
Wendy Bowman, who was awarded the Goldman environmental prize in 2017, lives on a farm which lies over more than half of the proposed surface mine. She refuses to sell her land for any price. Her principal objection to the proposed mine expansion is that it would risk polluting Glennies Creek, an important tributary of the Hunter River and a water source for most of the farms in the area.
- Sponsor: Ashton Coal Operations
- Parent Company: Yancoal Australia
- Location: Less than a kilometre away from the village of Camberwell, 14 km northwest of Singleton, New South Wales, Australia
- GPS Coordinates: -32.468942, 151.078493 (exact)
- Status: Operating
- Production Capacity: 5.45 mtpa from the existing mine
- Total Resource: 260 million tonnes
- Mineable Reserves: 47 million tonnes
- Coal type: Semi-soft coking coal and thermal coal
- Mine Size:
- Mine Type: Longwall with plans for surface mine
- Start Year: 2004 
- Source of Financing:
Articles and resources
- Elle Hunt, "Honour for environmental activist farmer, 83, surrounded by mines on three sides", Guardian website, 24 April 2017.
- "Ashton Coal Mind dead after Wendy Bowman refused to sell", ABC Newcastle News, 22 April 2022.
- Yancoal, "History", Yancoal website, accessed 14 November 2019.
- Yancoal, "Ashton*", Yancoal website, accessed 14 November 2019.
- Yancoal, "About", Ashton Coal Project website, accessed 14 November 2019.
- Yancoal, "Annual Report 2018", Yancoal, page 23, accessed 14 November 2019.
- Yancoal, "Annual Report 2018", Yancoal, page 33, accessed 14 November 2019.
- "Annual Review: Ashton Coal Project: 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2019," "Yancoal," March 2020.