Bengalla mine

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Coal Mine Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.
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The Bengalla mine is an open cut coal mine located four km south west of Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

Location

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Background

Bengalla's history as a mining project dates back to 1990, when the NSW Government called for expressions of interest from mining companies to develop a coal resource. Bengalla received a 21-year development consent in 1996, and the site commenced production in 1999. [1]

In its first decade of operating, the mine typically produced around 5 to 6 million tonnes of thermal coal per year.[2] This number increased throughout the years, and in November 2010, Rio Tinto subsidiary Coal & Allied and its joint-venture partners, Wesfarmers, Mitsui and Taipower, approved a $141-million expansion to the mine, which would increase yearly production to 9.3-million tons, from 7.8-million tons. Wesfarmers MD Steward Butel said that a feasibility study for a second stage expansion to increase production to 10.7-million tons a year was also under way. [3]

In March 2015, the development consent to mine in Bengalla was renewed, extending mining through 2039. The extraction limit approved from the mine is 15 million tonnes per annum of run of mine coal.[4]


Ownership

Coal & Allied acquired its interest in Bengalla in 2001. For some time, Coal & Allied was the manager of the site on behalf of the joint venture partners: CNA Bengalla Investments Pty Ltd (40 per cent), Wesfarmers Bengalla Limited (40 per cent), Taipower Bengalla Pty Ltd (10 per cent) and Mitsui Bengalla Investments Pty Ltd (10 per cent)."[1]

In 2015, the ownership was re-structured, with New Hope Corporation Limited owning 40%, Wesfarmers Bengalla Limited owning 40%, Taipower Bengalla Pty Ltd owning 10% and Mitsui Bengalla Investments Pty Ltd owning 10%. [5] In 2018, Wesfarmers sold their shares to New Hope Corporation, pushing New Hope’s shares to 80%.[6] Currently, Bengalla Mining Company is a joint venture ownership with New Hope Group 80% and Taipower 20%.[4]

Bengalla’s Relationship with the Community

According to their website, building an enduring and amiable relationship with the surrounding community of the Upper Hunter Valley is a priority for the Bengalla Mining Company.[7] In October 2019, the Bengalla mine sponsored a “Community Open Day…(with) entertainment, a free barbeque, kids' activities from face painting to Wildlife Aid animals, along with numerous interactive displays to learn more about the mine's operation.”[8]

Air Pollution

In December 2013, the Bengalla mine was fined for excessive dust emissions after warnings from the Planning Department. The Department said the mine had been issued a warning letter in August for a similar incident.[9]

A similar incident occurred in December 2018, with Bengalla Mining Company fined $15,000 after it “allegedly did not have proper measures in place to reduce dust from its operations,” according to the NSW EPA.[10]

At community meetings in Singleton and Muswellbrook in November 2019, citizens complained about and commented on the relationship between open cut coal mines and poor air quality in the Hunter Valley.[11]

"Close to 90 per cent of our coarse particle pollution comes from open cut coal mines,” said Singleton GP Dr Bob Vickers, in an article by the Muswellbrook Chronicle. "We're not going to improve this situation unless, and until, the state government makes the mines act."

Project Details

  • Sponsor:
  • Parent Company: Bengalla Mining Company Pty Limited[12]
  • Location: near Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • GPS Coordinates: -32.268076,150.841055
  • Status: Operating [14]
  • Production Capacity: 8.318 million tonnes per annum[4]
  • Total Resource:
  • Minable Reserves: 269 million tonnes[4]
  • Coal type: Lignite (Thermal)[2]
  • Mine Size:12 km2 [13]
  • Mine Type: Surface, Open-cut, Strip mining [13]
  • Start Year: 1999 [2]
  • Source of Financing:


Articles and Resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Coal & Allied, "Bengalla mine", Coal & Allied website, accessed July 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Bengalla: Mining and Production", Coal and Allied website, March 23, 2012
  3. Esmarie Swanepoel, "Coal & Allied and JV partners approve A$141m expansion" Mining Weekly, Nov. 30, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Bengalla Mining Company: What We Do" Bengalla website, Accessed March 2, 2020
  5. "New Hope reaches agreement to acquire 40% interest in Bengalla Coal Mine", New Hope Group Media Release, September 30, 2015
  6. "New Hope to acquire 40% stake in Bengalla coal mine in Australian for $860m", NS Energy, August 7, 2018
  7. [http://www.bengalla.com.au/community-relations/ "Bengalla: Community Relations"] Bengalla Website, Accessed March 2, 2020
  8. Rod Thompson,"Bengalla Mining Company welcomes residents to Community Open Day at Muswellbrook Showground" The Muswellbrook Chronicle, October 23, 2019
  9. "Rio Tinto fined for excessive dust emissions" ABC News Australia, December 6, 2013
  10. "Hunter Valley mine cops a dusting" NSW Environment Protection Authority, December 6, 2018
  11. "Friends of the Upper Hunter hosting air quality meeting at Muswellbrook's Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music" The Muswellbrook Chronicle, November 21, 2019
  12. "Bengalla Mine", Mining Data Solutions website, Accessed March 2, 2020
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Bengalla coal mine", Wikimapia.org, Accessed March 2, 2020
  14. Vanessa Zhou, "New Hope ups coal production with Bengalla expansion", Australian Mining, May 29, 2019

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External resources

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