The Wallarah 2 Coal Project will continue the long tradition of coal mining in the north of the Central Coast region and will bring significant economic and employment benefits to the region and NSW.
The approved Wallarah 2 Coal Project (W2CP) will involve construction and operation of an underground coal mine and associated facilities for 28 years (the Project). The Project will involve the extraction of up to 5 Million tonnes per annum of export quality thermal coal via longwall mining methods. The Project being an underground longwall mine will generally be comprised of:
Coal handling and storage facilities,
Rail spur and loading infrastructure (a previously proposed rail loop will no longer be required),
An underground drift entry and ventilation shafts,
Gas and water management facilities, and
Maintenance facilities and administration buildings.
To resolve land access issues for coal transfer facilities, Wyong Coal amended the original project to provide for:
Removal of the previously proposed rail loop and relocation of the rail spur and train load out facility to along the eastern side of the Main Northern Rail Line;
Extension of the conveyor system to deliver product coal from the stockpile to the new location of the train load out facility, and
Realignment of sewer connection.
The Project surface facilities will be located on land zoned largely for industrial development, and being an underground mine, the surface footprint or disturbance area is very small while being compatible with the surrounding land use: The main areas to be developed are:
The Tooheys Road Site surface facilities between the Motorway Link Road and the M1 Motorway which will include a rail spur alongside the Main Northern Rail Line, stockpiles, coal conveyor system, water and gas management facilities, workshop and offices;
The Buttonderry Site Surface Facilities between Sparks Road and the local Council’s Buttonderry Waste Management Facility. The Buttonderry Site will include the main personnel access to the mine, main ventilation facilities, offices and employee amenities; and
The Western Ventilation Shaft located in the Wyong State Forest which is required for ventilation purposes by Year 13.
All of these facilities except the western ventilation shaft will be located on company owned land.
Figure 1 below shows the indicative underground mining area and location of surface facilities.
Aerial Flyover of proposed Coal Handling and Rail Loading Infrastructure
Longwall mining is a term used to describe how the coal is extracted. The mining method involves the formation of large panels of coal between a series of underground roadways. These panels are then extracted by a mechanical shearer which makes progressive passes along the coal face. Coal is removed by a conveyor, behind which are a number of hydraulic jacks supporting the overlying rocks (“roof”) during the extraction process.
Since the coal seam up to 6.5m thick is located so deep below the surface (as deep as 690m), it needs to be accessed by a long sloped tunnel (drift) which will start at the proposed surface facilities site at Tooheys Road (Figure 2). The main administration, personnel access and ventilation facilities will be located at a separate site, to the south of the Buttonderry Waste Management Facility (Figure 3).
The Project has been designed to accommodate both social and environmental issues that were raised through community consultation and detailed investigations and reflected in the consent conditions under the approval. Key aspects include:
development of mine plan which safeguards the water supply catchment
no coal washery or associated reject disposal issues
gas and water management initiatives
enhanced strategies for subsidence and environmental management
Benefits to the community will include economic stimulation with over 1100 direct and indirect jobs created during construction and over 850 direct and indirect jobs created in the region during operations. The project will seek to maximise local employment (including a target of 10% Indigenous employment) and procurement of goods and services from local and regional businesses where practicable. The Wallarah 2 Community Foundation will also continue to operate, with an expansion of the program to create more opportunities for vocational training and community support.