Mt Thorley Warkworth coal mine

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

The Mt Thorley Warkworth mine is an integrated operation of two separate open-cut mining operations: Mt Thorley Operations and Warkworth Mining Limited. Each of these mines are owned by separate joint ventures.[1]

Additionally, Yancoal, the primary owner of each mine, as well as the operator, is exploring underground mining at the Mt Thorley Warkworth. This has not yet begun but is expected to produce 6 mtpa once it does.[2]


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Coal mining operations began at both Mt Thorley and Warkworth in 1981. Each has continuously produced semi-soft coking coal and thermal coal for domestic and export markets since they opened in the 80s. The two mines were integrated into one operation in February 2004 to form Mount Thorley Warkworth.[1]

In 2017, Yancoal officially bought all of Rio Tinto’s coal assets in New South Wales, which included Mt Thorley Warkworth.[3] As of 2017, 28 million tonnes of Run Of Mine coal from Mt Thorley Warkworth is permitted in a calendar year, with 18 million from Warkworth and 10 million from Mt Thorley. In 2017, Warkworth produced 14 million tonnes and Mt Thorley produced about 4, adding up to 18 million tonnes of ROM coal. This was pared down to about 12 million tonnes of saleable coal in 2017.[4]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Yancoal[5]
  • Parent Company: Mount Thorley: Yancoal Australia Ltd (80 per cent) and POSCO Australia Pty Ltd (20 per cent). Warkworth: Yancoal Australia Ltd (84.5 per cent), Nippon Steel Australia Pty Limited (9.53 per cent) and Mitsubishi Materials (Australia) Pty Limited (6 per cent).[5]
  • Location: Located 15 kilometres south-west of Singleton in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales.[6]
  • GPS Coordinates: -32.60700995, 151.0901636 (exact)
  • Status: Open cut is operating while underground is not yet[2]
  • Production Capacity: open cut - 12 mtpa,[4] underground - 6 mtpa[2]
  • Total Resource: 613 million tonnes (as of 2015)[7]
  • Mineable Reserves: 315 million tonnes (as of 2018)[5]
  • Coal type: semi-soft coking and thermal coal[1]
  • Mine Size:
  • Mine Type: underground, open cut
  • Start Year: Open cut mining began in 1981[1]
  • Source of Financing:

Opposition to Mt Thorley Warkworth

In 2019, four Hunter Valley coal mines, including Mt Thorley Warkworth, were issued six notices to fix up their rehabilitation and other environmental management, according to a Hunter Valley News article.[8]

The article stated that: “At Mt Thorley Warkworth, an inspection recognised ongoing delays in the progression of rehabilitation areas; limited documented records to address the risks to rehabilitation; and limited documented measures or actions to improve progressive rehabilitation performance.”[8]

Lock the Gate, an anti-coal coalition, responded in the article that failing to keep up with rehabilitation duties was unacceptable.

Then, in April 2020, the mine was fined $15,000 by the EPA for “a large cloud of blasting dust that engulfed neighbouring properties in August last year.”[9]

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