Ashton coal mine

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The Ashton coal mine is an existing underground and open-cut coal mine owned by China-based 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.[1]


The satellite image below shows the exact location of the existing mine. It lies very close to the village of Camberwell, New South Wales, Australia.

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In 2009, Yancoal completed the successful takeover of Felix Resources, which proposed the mine.[2]

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.[3]

Coal from Ashton Mine is exported via the Port of Newcastle.[4]

Mine Extension Project

In 2010, Yancoal proposed an extension project for an open-cut mine called Ashton South East — an $83m project to extract 16.5m tonnes of coal over seven years.[3]

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.[1]

In 2015, the project was approved for a seven-year extension, however, the New South Wales Court of Appeal decided 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 could occur until Ashton Coal Operations had acquired a privately owned property which forms part of the proposed mining area.[3] This privately-owned property belonged to a local land owner — Mrs. Wendy Bowman — who refused to sell.[1] As a result of Mrs. Bowman refusing to sell, and the approval lapsing in April 2022, the Ashton South East open-cut coal mine extension has been cancelled.[5]

The owner has no intention of selling to the coal company.[1]

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.[1]

Mine Details

  • Operator: Ashton Coal Operations
  • Owner: Yancoal Australia[3]
  • 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[3]
  • Production: 2.1 million tonnes per annum (2022)[6]
  • Total Resource: 268 million tonnes (2022)[7]
  • Mineable Reserves: 21 million tonnes (2022)[7]
  • Coal Type: Semi-soft coking coal (Thermal)[8]
  • Mine Size:
  • Mine Type: Underground (longwall) & open-cut[9]
  • Start Year: 2004 [10]
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Elle Hunt, "Honour for environmental activist farmer, 83, surrounded by mines on three sides", Guardian website, 24 April 2017.
  2. Yancoal, "History", Yancoal website, accessed 14 November 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Yancoal, "Ashton", Yancoal website, accessed 14 November 2019.
  4. Yancoal, "About", Ashton Coal Project website, accessed 14 November 2019.
  5. "Ashton Coal Mine dead after Wendy Bowman refused to sell", ABC Newcastle News, 22 April 2022.
  6. Full Year Financial Result 2022, page 43, Yancoal, 27 Feb. 2023.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Yancoal, Coal Resources and Coal Reserves statement for year ending 31 December 2022, Yancoal, page 3, accessed 27 Feb. 2023.
  8. Yancoal, "Annual Report 2018", Yancoal, page 33, accessed 14 November 2019.
  9. "About", Ashton Coal website, accessed March 2023.
  10. "Annual Review: Ashton Coal Project: 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2019," "Yancoal," March 2020.

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