Echo mine

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The Echo mine is an opencast bituminous coal mine southeast of Reefton on the West Coast of the South Island. The mine is owned by Francis Mining.

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Project Details

Location: Within a 1200 ha tenement 10 km southeast of Reefton on the West Coast of the South Island. Part or all of the 291 ha mine is on Department of Conservation land.[1]
Coordinates: -42.164326,171.957271

Coal field: Garvey Creek
Historical background:
Current owner: Francis Mining, which, together with ROA Mining Company, makes up New Zealand Coal and Carbon Ltd (NZCC), New Zealand’s largest non-government owned coal mining company and exporter of coal.[2][3][4] Status: Operating
Production capacity: 45,000 tonnes/year
Estimated recoverable reserves: Francis Mining states that the tenement has more than 100 years of coal reserves. The opencast operation is continually being expanded and is in the planning phase for underground mine development, which will work a coal seam at considerable depth.[5]
Mining technique: Opencast. Coal is extracted using “truck and shovel” methods, processed on site, then transported by road and rail either to the port of Lyttleton near Christchurch or else to the port of Greymouth on the West Coast.[6] Doug Hood Mining described the work as being done, “mainly in difficult terrain with complex geology and underground workings … Coal folded and dipped over short distances making planning and recovery difficult.”[7]
Type of coal: Bituminous – specialist low ash semi-soft coking coal[8]
Solid fuel calorific value (gross) 30.87 MJ/kg (Range for NZ coal 15.25–31.95 MJ/kg[9]
Market information: Primary overseas markets are coke and other carbon product producers including specialised silicon producers in Saudi Arabia, Canada and Australia.[10]
Environmental and/or health & safety issues:

Articles and Resources


  1. Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, "Mining operations on Department of Conservation land", accessed December 2012
  2. Ministry of Economic Development, "Operating coal mines", Ministry of Economic Development website, accessed March 2012.
  3. Francis Mining, "History", Francis Mining website, accessed April 2012.
  4. New Zealand Coal & Carbon,"Welcome to NZ Coal & Carbon Ltd", accessed December 2012
  5. Solid Energy, "Expansion for Reefton's Terrace Mine", accessed December 2012
  6. New Zealand Coal, "Francis Mining Co Ltd", accessed December 2012
  7. Doug Hood Mining, "Echo Opencast coalmine", accessed December 2012
  8. New Zealand Coal, "Francis Mining Co Ltd", accessed December 2012
  9. Ministry of Economic Development, "New Zealand Energy Data File", accessed December 2012
  10. New Zealand Coal, "Francis Mining market information", accessed December 2012

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