Rotowaro Opencast Mine

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Rotowaro Opencast Mine is an opencast sub-bituminous coal mine located approximately 10 km west of the township of Huntly. It is owned by Solid Energy.

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Project Details

Location: Rotowaro is approx 10 km west of Huntly in the Waikato region of the North Island, and approx 100 km south of Auckland.
Coordinates: -37.594308,175.074334
Coal field: Rotowaro
Historical background: Mining began around 1915 and the Rotowaro township was built especially for miners’ houses, but was entirely removed in the 1980s to make way for a large opencast mine. “Rotowaro Opencast Mine” refers to three pits which have or are being mined - the Awaroa mine, the Waipuna mine and the Township mine. Currently, mining is occurring in what is referred to as Awaroa 4 pit.
Current owner: Solid Energy.[1] Overburden removal and coal extraction are contracted out to Stevenson Mining Limited.[2]
Status: Operating
Production capacity: 1.5–1.9 million tonnes/year. In 2011 production was down 6% to 1.26 Mt due to lower demand from New Zealand Steel.[3]
Estimated recoverable reserves: 5 million tonnes[4]
Mining technique: Opencast
Type of coal: Sub-bituminous
Solid fuel calorific value (gross) 22.24 MJ/kg (Range for NZ coal 15.25–31.95 MJ/kg)[5]
Market information: Approx 70% is burnt in the Huntly Power Station, the largest thermal power station in New Zealand, or stockpiled for future use. About 25% is used in New Zealand Steel's Glenbrook steel mill. The remainder supplies the North Island industrial and home heating markets.[6]
Environmental and/or health & safety issues: Solid Energy states that the main environmental effects of the mining relate to the temporary disturbance of the land. The company states that dust and water quality are carefully managed and monitored, and that rehabilitation is undertaken progressively. Ponds, wetlands and a large lake will remain following the completion of mining and rehabilitation.[7]

Articles and Resources


  1. Ministry of Economic Development, "Operating coal mines", accessed March 2012
  2. Solid Energy, "Rotowaro Opencast mine", accessed March 2012
  3. Solid Energy, "Annual Report 2011", pages 24-25
  4. Solid Energy, "Rotowaro Mine", August 2008
  5. Ministry of Economic Development, "Energy data file 2011", accessed December 2012
  6. Solid Energy, "Rotowaro Mine", August 2008
  7. Solid Energy, "Rotowaro Mine", August 2008

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