Capcoal Mining Complex

From Global Energy Monitor

The Capcoal Mining Complex is a group of surface and underground mines, operated by Anglo American, near Middlemount in the Bowen Basin, Central Queensland, Australia.

The complex comprises several mines and has expanded into historic operations, including Lake Lindsay, Oak Park, German Creek East.


The map below shows the exact location of the mines in Capcoal.

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The Capcoal complex consists of two mines: Capcoal Open Cut (originally known as German Creek) and Grasstree Mines, which is an underground mining operation. [1] Open cut coal mining started at German Creek mine in late 1981, while underground coal mining started at Southern Colliery in 1988. [2] The current open cut operation consists of two mines, Lake Lindsay and Oak Park. Open cut mining moved from Southern Colliery to Capcoal’s Oak Park lease in 2004, and the Lake Lindsay lease area in 2008 where it continues today.[1] The underground mining operation is also made up of two mines: Grasstree and Aquila. [2]

Anglo American commenced operating the the Capcoal mine complex after acquiring Shell Coal assets in 2000.[1] Construction of the Grasstree underground mine commenced in 2001 and first production was in 2002.[1]

In 2019, Anglo American approved the development of the Aquila project, which will extend the life of the existing Capcoal underground operations by six years, to 2028.[3]

Mining Accidents

Several mining accidents have occurred at the Capcoal mining complex. In 1990, Shane Slotosch died while “operating a Cat 966C front end loader cleaning out a drain along the highwall near the transport portal of Southern Colliery, German Creek Mine, Capricorn Coal, near Middlemount,” according to Mine Accidents & Disasters.[4]

In 2014, electrician Paul McGuire died at Grasstree mine after breathing in “irrespirable and fatal” air from a “goaf,” according to The CQ News.[5] In 2016, Anglo American pleaded guilty to failing its safety obligations and therefore causing McGuire’s death.

Project Details

  • Operator: Anglo American
  • Owners: Anglo American (70%), Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (30%)[1][6]
  • Location: 60 kilometres South-West of the township of Middlemount, and 120 kilometres north-west of Emerald in the Bowen Basin, Central Queensland [1]
  • GPS Coordinates: -22.990997, 148.580506 (exact)
  • Status: operating [7]
  • Production: 5.9 mtpa[8]
  • Total Resource: 1.5 billion tonnes [9]
  • Mineable Reserves: 109.1 Mt [10]
  • Coal type: hard coking and pulverized coal injection (PCI) coal [2]
  • Mine Size: 34,085 hectares [2]
  • Mine Type: combined open cut and underground operation [2]
  • Workforce size: 500+ [11]
  • Start Year: 1981 [2]
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "CAPCOAL COMPLEX: Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox Report 2019-2021" AngloAmerican website, 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "CAPCOAL Fact Sheet" AngloAmerican website, September 2013
  3. Daniel Gleeson, "Anglo approves development of ‘technologically advanced’ Aquila coal mine" International Mining, July 25, 2019
  4. "Shane Slotosch", Mine Accidents and Disasters, January 3, 1990
  5. "Anglo Coal admits it sent worker to poisonous site", CQ News, October 28, 2016
  6. Integrated Annual Report 2021, Anglo American, Accessed June 2022
  7. "Anglo American approves Aquila coal project in Australia" Mining Technology, July 26, 2019
  8. Annual Report 2021, Anglo American, accessed June 2022
  10. Anglo American, Anglo American ore reserves and mineral resources report, 2017

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