JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Following an 18-month review of various underground mining methods for the Dartbrook coal mine, in the Hunter Valley of New South Walesa, Australian Pacific Coal (APC) has determined that it should adopt bord-and-pillar mining of the Kayuga coal seam, rather than the approved longwall mining activities.
APC has applied to modify its existing mining approval and said on Thursday that the proposed bord-and-pillar mining method wold not increase the footprint of the approved operations, nor would it involve the restart of the existing coal washery.
The company also stressed that the modification would not alter the approved mining activities in other coal seams.
APC, which last year concluded the acquisition of the mine from Anglo American, said that it would submit an environmental assessment in May this year and that it expected a determination in the September quarter, which would pave the way for production to start six months thereafter.
“Discussions with potential mining contractors, equipment suppliers and coal-end users will continue to progress in line with the company’s preparation to recommence mining at Dartbrook,” the firm stated.
The company previously targetted a 20-year, five-million-tonne-a-year opencut operation at the mothballed underground mine. Dartbrook, which contains about 2.5-billion tonnes of coal resource, has been on care and maintenance since 2006.