Baal Bone mine

From Global Energy Monitor

The Baal Bone mine is an underground and open cut coal mine located in the Western Coalfields of NSW, 32 kilometres north of Lithgow and approximately 130 kilometers from Sydney.

Location

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Background

The colliery was established in 1983 at the site of the old Ben Bullen opencut mine, which had been abandoned in 1952.[1] Glencore Coal Australia bought the mine in 2000 and began to oversee its operations.[2]

In 2011, with the completion of longwall 31, mining ceased at Baal Bone Colliery, and the mine was placed on care and maintenance.[2] In 2012 and 2013, Baal Bone Colliery was used as a training facility for Glencore employees.[3] Underground workers completed a twelve week training course including classroom tutorials, and equipment familiarization.

In 2015, DP&E approved an Amendment to Project Approval that extended the mine’s life until the end of 2019. It would allow for mining of remnant areas.[4] No other changes to the project were sought.

There were rumors in 2015 that Glencore was looking to sell the mine.[5] But in March 2019, Glencore confirmed that the mine would officially close and its site rehabilitated.[6]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Wallerawang Collieries Ltd[1]
  • Parent Company: Glencore Australia[1]
  • Location: located in the Western Coalfields of NSW, 32 km north of Lithgow and approximately 130 km from Sydney[1]
  • GPS Coordinates: -33.271035,150.05136 (exact)
  • Status: retired in 2019 [6]
  • Production Capacity: 2.0 Mtpa[4]
  • Total Resource: 15 mt [7]
  • Mineable Reserves:
  • Coal type: thermal[7]
  • Mine Size:
  • Mine Type: underground and open-cut[1]
  • Start Year: 1983[1]
  • Source of Financing:

Ownership

The mine is operated by Wallerawang Collieries Ltd, a company which is 95% owned by Oakbridge and 5% by Sumitomo Corporation. Oakbridge is 78% owned by Glencore.[1]

Glencore took over Xstrata in 2013.[8] Xstrata had overseen Baal Bone Colliery prior to this.

Environmental Impact

In 2011, the NSW Planning Department approved Xstrata's application to continue longwall mining at the Baal Bone Colliery until 2014. But complaints submitted to the Planning Department objected to the continuation of mining due to its impacts on “local water supplies, native species and cracks in the earth caused by mining operations,” according to an ABC article.[9]

"We found 151 plant species in that area that were not identified on the company's species list and they've been totally ignored and some of these species will disappear,” said Chris Jonkers from the Lithgow Environment Group in the article.[9] "The water pollution's going to continue, the cliffs are going to continue to fall, cracks are going to open up and there's no requirement for this company to repair any of that damage."

In particular, activists worry that coal mining at Baal Bone has a detrimental impact on the Gardens of Stone, an Australian national park located near the Baal Bone colliery and at least 4 other coal mines.[10] The park is home to many geological wonders, such as sandstone pinnacles known locally as “pagodas,” narrow canyons, rock arches, cave overhangs and sandstone peninsulas.[10] Activists are concerned that underground coal mining brings about land subsidence, which can lead to ”cliff falls, the draining of headwater streams, detrimental alterations to surface water chemistry, the deterioration of nationally significant and endangered upland swamps and widespread surface cracking,” according to a report by the The Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd.[10]

Articles and resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 BAAL BONE COLLIERY, Glencore website, Accessed April 9, 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 Baal Bone Colliery Community Newsletter, Glencore website, 2017
  3. Baal Bone Colliery: ANNUAL ENVIRONMENT REVIEW, 1st January 2014 – 31st December 2014, Glencore website, February 25, 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 Baal Bone Underground: Annual Review 2017, Glencore website, May 15, 2018
  5. LEN ASHWORTH,Speculation continues on Baal Bone future The Lithgow Mercury, February 5, 2015
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kirsty Horton, Baal Bone mine site to be closed, sealed, rehabilitated, The Lithgow Mercury, March 5, 2019
  7. 7.0 7.1 Glencore: Resources and Reserves as at 31 December 2018, Glencore website, December 31, 2018
  8. Javier Blas, Glencore finishes takeover of Xstrata, Financial Times, May 2, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 Baal Bone Colliery lease extended until 2014, ABC News, January 27, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Keith Muir, The Impact of Coal Mining on the Gardens of Stone, Published by the Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd, March 2010

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External resources

External articles