Invincible Coal mine

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Coal Mine Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

The Invincible Coal mine is a proposed coal mine in New South Wales owned by Castlereagh Coal. It has been on care and maintenance since 2013, but in February 2018, the NSW Planning Assessment Commission gave approval for the reopening of a coal mine.[1] [2]It is unclear if the mine has yet recommenced operations.


The undated image below shows the exact location of the Appin mine head.

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According to Castlereagh's website, "The mine was acquired by Coalpac Pty Ltd (Coalpac) in 1989 and operated as a bord and pillar operation and more recently as an open cut operation. Production from Invincible Colliery is currently drawn from the Open Cut via conventional operations using a combination of trucks, excavators and loaders to recover coal from the Lithgow, Lidsdale and Irondale Seams. The operation produced 1,000,000 tonnes per annum to a mixture of power station supply and domestic thermal coal producers."[3]

The mine went into care and maintenance in 2013, and was then acquired by Castlereagh Coal in 2015.[3]

In October, 2014, the Planning Assessment Commission of New South Wales rejected a proposal to extend coal mining activities at the site. The commission claimed "granting approval to extend the mine would have threatened the habitat of threatened species and would have intruded on the region's unique rock structure that had a high conservation value." [1] Thus, the decision in 2018 to permit mining came as a surprise.

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Castlereagh Coal Pty Ltd
  • Parent Company: Shoalhaven Coal Pty Ltd
  • Location: Located near the township of Cullen Bullen, some 160 Kilometres west of Sydney in New South Wales.
  • GPS Coordinates: -33.3243521 ,150.0398057 (exact)
  • Status: Proposed[4]
  • Production Capacity: 1.2 Mtpa[5]
  • Total Resource:
  • Mineable Reserves: 2.7 Mt[5]
  • Coal type: thermal[3]
  • Mine Size: 134.17 ha[4]
  • Mine Type: open cut[3]
  • Start Year: 1940s[4]
  • Source of Financing:


Throughout the first and second proposal to extend the Invincible coal mine's life, environmental activists pushed back aggressively, in fact proving victorious in the first battle for the mine's extension.[1] The mine is located in the Blue Mountains, home to geographically-unique sandstone pagodas in the Gardens of Stone.[2]

Conservationists were vocal throughout the second push for the mine's extension, and were ultimately unhappy with the Planning Assessment Commissions decisions. 313 public comments were written in opposition to the proposed extension, though 540 wrote in support of the proposed extension.[6]

In a Sydney Morning Herald article after the decision was made to permit the extension, Keith Muir of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, said that the commission's reversal came even though its previous assessment had found conservation "to be the highest and best use of the area”. He added that the mine extension will endanger one of the state's rarest butterflies, the purple copper butterfly, because protecting it will rely on the replanting of its bushy habitat, a move that "has very little chance of working”, he said.[2]

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "INVINCIBLE," "MiningLink website," accessed June 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Peter Hannam, "'Nut coal' project given approval despite stone pagoda concerns," "The Sydney Morning Herald," February 7, 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Invincible Colliery," "Castlereagh Coal," accessed June 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "INVINCIBLE COLLIERY ANNUAL REVIEW," "Castlereagh Coal," March 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "NSW Planning Assessment Commission Determination Report," "NSW Government Planning Assessment Commission," February 2, 2018.
  6. "Submissions: Mod 5 - Southern Extension," "NSW Government," accessed June 2020.

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