Chain Valley Mine

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Chain Valley Colliery is an underground thermal coal mine located on the southern end of Lake Macquarie in New South Wales, Australia. It is permitted to extract up to 2.1 million tonnes of coal per year (mtpa).[1]


The satellite image below shows the exact location of the mine in New South Wales, Australia.

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Underground mining has occurred at the Chain Valley colliery since 1962. Historically, underground mining was undertaken using the bord and pillar method; however, in September 2011, miniwall mining was introduced. Throughout the mine’s life, coal has been extracted from three seams: the Wallarah Seam, the Great Northern Seam and the Fassifern Seam. Current mining activities are limited to the Fassifern Seam.[2]

Additionally, throughout the mine’s life, it has always provided coal to the nearby Vale Point power station. In addition to the power station, coal from Chain Valley colliery is sent to Port Waratah for export.[3]

Chain Valley colliery’s workforce peaked in the mid-1980s with 380 personnel; a 2015 annual review noted that the workforce was down to 155 personnel.[2]

In 2001, the owner of the Chain Valley Colliery was the Wallarah Coal Joint Venture — a joint venture between Billiton Coal Australia Limited and the Japanese company Nissho Iwai, or the Sojitz Corporation.[4] Shortly after, LakeCoal acquired BHP Billiton’s 80% share. In November 2009, LDO Coal Pty Limited purchased LakeCoal Pty Limited, and in March 2011 LDO Coal acquired the remaining 20% of interest in the Chain Valley Colliery.[2]

In 2018, the colliery began facing serious financial struggles and collapsed into administration.[5] The colliery had two fixed-price contracts to supply coal to Delta annually to meet half Vales Point's coal needs. But according to a Newcastle Herald article, “the contracts, with their considerably lower than market value price per tonne, were "a significant burden" to the colliery.”[6]

As a result, Delta Coal bought the mine in March 2019.[3]

As of December 2022, Sev.en Global Investments Pty Ltd, a family office investment group based in the Czech Republic, completed the acquisition of Delta Electricity Pty Ltd and its subsidiaries, including Delta Coal.[7]

Public Opposition

In 2013, LakeCoal applied for an expansion on Chain Valley Mine’s annual production capacity and lifetime that would increase production from 1.2 mtpa to 1.5 mtpa and add 14 years to the mine’s lifetime until 2027.[8] Many citizens who lived nearby expressed displeasure with the expansion project and felt as if the company was trying to buy them off. A 2015 article in The Daily Telegraph reported that LakeCoal was offering at least $750,000 towards community projects in the nearby suburbs of Summerland Point, Gwandalan, Chain Valley Bay and Mannering Park.[9]

“I am very angry that companies are going to the community, essentially bribing them to say it’s OK to support an industry that has potentially huge health and environmental impacts,” said Mannering Park resident and former Greens councillor, Sue Wynn.[9]

Mine Extension

Most recently, Delta Coal proposed an expansion plan known as the Chain Valley Consolidation Project, which calls for the consolidation of the existing Chain Valley Colliery and Mannering Colliery under a single development consent. This extension project would align the life of mining operations at Mannering and Chain Valley with the planned operational period of the Vales Point power station .[10] The Project would also allow for secondary extraction in the approved Mannering Colliery mining areas located under Lake Macquarie to maintain consistency with the existing Chain Valley Colliery consent and provide an extension of the life of mine for an additional two years to 2029.[10] Based on current mine planning, an estimated 13.4 Mt ROM coal will be extracted over the period 2023 to 2029. While the extension of the life of mine by two years will only increase approved maximum production by 5.6 Mt, the economics associated with mining the approved western areas means approximately 9.5 Mt ROM of additional resources can be extracted over the life of operations relative to current operations.[10]

As of spring 2023, an EIS has been submitted and the project is in the assessment stage of approval with the New South Wales Government.[11]

It is uncertain whether or not new owner Sev.en Global Investments will continue to pursue this consolidation project.

Mine Details

  • Operator: Great Southern Energy Pty Ltd[8]
  • Owner: Sev.en Global Investments[7]
  • Location: Located beneath south Lake Macquarie in New South Wales, adjacent to the Vales Point power station and 60 kilometres from Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia[12]
  • GPS Coordinates: -33.163056, 151.55000 (exact)
  • Status: Operating[6]
  • Production: 0.95 million tonnes per annum (2022)[1]
  • Total Resource:
  • Mineable Reserves: 19.5 Mt (as of 2014)[13]
  • Coal Type: Subbituminous (Thermal)[8]
  • Mine Size: 2,200 hectares[13]
  • Mine Type: Underground[12]
  • Start Year: 1962[13]
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Chain Valley Colliery Annual Review 2022, Delta Coal, accessed March 2023.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Annual Review 2015," "LakeCoal," April 30, 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "INDEPENDENT ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT 2019: Chain Valley Colliery," "SLR," June 2019.
  4. PJ HAYES, "TOWARDS HIGH PRODUCTIVITY UNDER A CLAYSTONE ROOF," "Coal Opertators’ Geotechnology Colloquium," February 15, 2001.
  5. Angela Macdonald-Smith, "NSW coal mine collapses into insolvency as Trevor St Baker circles," Financial Review," October 3, 2018.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Joanne McCarthy, "Chain Valley Colliery was "distressed" for a number of years until its swift collapse," "Newcastle Herald," April 20, 2019.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Sev.en Global Investments Completes Acquisition of Delta Group", Sev.en Global Investments, 16 December 2022.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Katie Weekes, "CHAIN VALLEY COLLIERY: Annual Review 2019," Delta Coal, May 15, 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Geraldine Cardozo, "Chain Valley Bay residents ‘being bought’ on coal," "The Daily Telegraph," March 18, 2015.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Chain Valley Colliery Consolidation Project - Environmental Impact Statement, NSW Government Planning Portal, September 2022.
  11. Chain Valley Colliery Consolidation Project, New South Wales Government website, accessed March 2023.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "CHAIN VALLEY," "MiningLink," accessed June 2020.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Chain Valley Colliery," "Australian Government: Bioregional Assessment," accessed June 2020.

Related articles

Coal in Australia

External articles