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THERMAL BLACK COAL

  • Thermal Black Coal
  • Mines Producing Thermal Black Coal

Thermal black coal is a sedimentary rock that is combustible. It is formed from vegetation that has become consolidated between other rock strata where it becomes transformed into coal via a combination of heat, pressure and microbial action over a long period of time. This transformation is known as 'coalification'.


Thermal black coal is usually found in seams, or layers, that can be only millimetres thick, or many tens of metres thick. It comprises oxygen, three to 13 percent hydrogen, between 50 and 98 percent carbon as well as small amounts of sulphur and nitrogen. It also contains inorganic matter and water.


It is when thermal black coal is burnt it becomes valuable, as it then releases much energy in the form of heat where it finds its primary use as a 'steaming coal' in generating electricity in power stations. In 2008, 77 percent of all electricity produced in Australia was produced by coal, most of it being thermal black coal.


Thermal black coal doesn't need any processing other than crushing and screening in order to reduce it to a usable size although it may sometimes be washed to remove impurities such as minerals and pieces of rock. Washing improves its quality and reduces ash content. The washing of thermal black coal is carried out by immersing the coal in a high specific gravity liquid where the heavier impurities fall to the bottom and the lighter coal floats on the surface from where it is easily recovered.


The mining of thermal black coal takes place either underground or in an open pit method on the surface. The form of mining undertaken relies on whether the coal is deep underground or near the surface. About 80 percent of Australian thermal black coal production comes from the open pit method. However, this method of mining is only economical if the coal seam is close to the surface where more coal can be recovered. Large open cut mines cover many square kilometres of land where large drag-lines are used to remove overburden before excavators are introduced to extract coal from the exposed coal seam. Either haulage trucks, or conveyor belts, are used to transport the coal to the crusher and screening plant. Many open pits mine coal to a depth of 200 metres or deeper.


In NSW thermal black coal is mined near the western and eastern edges of the Gunnedah Basin. Mines along the eastern edge of the basin spread along the Hunter Valley from Muswellbrook to Newcastle where coal seams are close to the surface and are mined by the open pit method. In the Lithgow-Mudgee and Woolongong-Appin-Bulli area most of the mines are underground.


Thermal black coal mines in Queensland are located at Newlands, Rolleston and the Bowen Basin that includes Moura, Blackwater and Collinsville. There are also thermal black coal mines in the Callide, Surat and Moreton Basins, Commodore, New Acland and Wilkie Creek. Thermal black coal mines also operate in Western Australia at Premier and Muja, Leigh Creek in South Australia and Duncan in Tasmania.

Australian Mines that produce Thermal Black Coal

Airly Mountain ( NSW )

The Airly underground black coal mine in the Hunter Valley Region of New South Wales has been placed on care and maintenance by Centennial Coal Company Ltd.

Angus Place ( NSW )

The Angus Place coal mine near Lithgow NSW has sufficient reserves to extend the life of the mine beyond 2024.

Ashton ( NSW )

The Ashton South East open cut mine is currently fighting to have extension plan approval upheld after opposition lodged by local anti- mining activists.

Baal Bone ( NSW )

The former Baal Bone underground and open cut coal mine near Lithgow NSW, owned by Xstrata, is now Australia's first hands-on coal mining training facility.

Bengalla ( NSW )

The Bengalla coal mine in the Hunter Valley Region of NSW has been operating since 1999 and has extension plans to give it a further 21 years of production.

Bloomfield ( NSW )

The Bloomfield Colliery black coal mine near Maitland is one of the oldest continuous operating open pit mines in the Hunter Valley Region of NSW.

Boggabri ( NSW )

The Boggabri open cut coal mine, that is located in the Gunnedah Basin, 15 kilometres north east of Boggabri in NSW, is owned by Idemitsu Australia.

Bulga ( NSW )

The Bulga coal mining operations consist of two mines, one being an open cut and the other an underground mine as well as a coal handling preparation plant.

Chain Valley ( NSW )

The Chain Valley coal mine in NSW, located 60 kilometres south of Newcastle near the Vales Point Power Station, has been in production for over 50 years.

Charbon ( NSW )

The Charbon coal mine in NSW is the only mine operated by Centennial to use a mono-rail in development that provides both operational and safety benefits.

Clarence ( NSW )

Clarence Coal Mine is a leader in mining innovation with its adoption of an underground Flexible Conveyor Train (FCT) out-dating the traditional shuttle train.

Cullen Valley ( NSW )

Coalpac acquired the Cullen Valley black coal mine in New South Wales, from the Lithgow Coal Company in February 2008 and immediately resumed coal production.

Donaldson ( NSW )

The Donaldson open cut black coal mine in the Hunter Valley of NSW is owned by giant Chinese miner Yanzhou through its Australian subsidiary Yancoal.

Drayton ( NSW )

The Drayton open cut coal mine in the Hunter Valley of NSW produces five million tonnes of thermal coal annually for both the domestic and export market.

Duralie ( NSW )

The Duralie open cut coal mine that began production in March 2003, is owned by Chinese miner Yancoal and operated under contract by Leighton Mining.

Ivanhoe North ( NSW )

The small Ivanhoe North coal mine in the Ben Bullen State Forest near Lithgow in New South Wales ceased operating in 2012.

Liddell ( NSW )

Liddell Coal, the operators of the Liddell coal mine at Ravensworth in the Hunter Valley Region of NSW, is owned by Glencore Xstrata and Mitsui Matsushima.

Mandalong ( NSW )

The Mandalong underground coal mine in NSW, that Centennial Coal purchased from Powercoal, in 2002, looks forward to full production continuing up until 2035.

Mangoola ( NSW )

Construction of the Mangoola open cut coal mine in the Hunter Valley region of NSW was completed in 2011 three months ahead of schedule and under budget.

Mannering ( NSW )

The Mannering coal mine owned by Centennial Coal Company Limited in the NSW Newcastle Coalfields was closed and placed on care and maintenance in 2013.

Moolarben ( NSW )

The Moolarben Coal complex that is located in the Hunter Valley Region of New South Wales, near Mudgee, is majority owned by Yancoal Australia Pty Ltd.

Mount Arthur ( NSW )

The Mount Arthur coal mine in NSW is the largest coal mine in the Hunter Valley and is surrounded by horse studs, vineyards and olive groves.

Mt Owen ( NSW )

The Mount Owen black coal open pit at Singleton in New South Wales is one of the deepest coal mining pits in Australia.

Mt Thorley ( NSW )

Mount Thorley Warkworth is the integration of two open cut coal mines in the New South Wales Hunter Valley 15 kilometres south of Singleton.

Muswellbrook No2 ( NSW )

The N.S.W. Hunter Valley Muswellbrook No. 2 open pit coal mine has completed its mining operations and is in the process of rehabilitation.

Myuna ( NSW )

The Myuna underground black coal mine is situated at Wangi Wangi near Lake Macquarie in New South Wales, 25 kilometres south west of Newcastle.

Narrabri ( NSW )

The Narrabri underground coal mine in New South Wales plans to grow its locally based workforce, bring people to the region and provide training opportunities.

Pine Dale ( NSW )

The Pine Dale coal mine in New South Wales is now owned by Chinese energy company CLP Holdings through its Australian subsidiary Energy Australia.

Ravensworth East ( NSW )

The Ravensworth East open pit coal mine located in the Hunter Valley 25 kilometres from Singleton is part of the greater Mount Owen Complex.

Ravensworth Narama ( NSW )

The Ravensworth Narama open cut coal mine, near Singleton in NSW, has productive life extended until 2016.

Ravensworth West ( NSW )

The Ravensworth West black coal mine near Singleton in New South Wales commenced mining operations in April 2006 and ceased operations in 2011.

Rocglen ( NSW )

The Rocglen open cut coal mine in the Gunnedah Basin Region of New South Wales has a mine of life that is expected to cease in 2016.

Springvale ( NSW )

The Springvale underground coal mine, one of the highest mines in Australia at 921 metres above sea level, is located 120 kilometres north west of Sydney.

Stratford ( NSW )

The Stratford coal mine was expected to close in 2003, however, if expansion planning approvals are successful, the operation can be extended to 2030.

Sunnyside ( NSW )

Mining operations of the Sunnyside open cut coal mine in Queensland were suspended indefinitely by its owner Whitehaven Coal Mining in October 2012.

Tahmoor ( NSW )

The Tahmoor Coal Mine, located 70 kilometres from Sydney in the Southern Highland of NSW, began operations in 1979, is now a major producer of coking coal.

Tarrawonga ( NSW )

Tarrawonga, a black coal open cut mine 42 kilometres from Gunnedah in New South Wales, is operated by Tarrawonga Coal and majority owned by Whitehaven.

Tasman ( NSW )

The Tasman underground coal mine near Maitland in NSW has improved mine safety by successfully introducing the Duncan technique in partial pillar removal.

Wambo ( NSW )

The Peabody owned Wambo open cut and underground black coal mine in the Hunter Valley Region of NSW is operated by Downer EDI Mining Contractors.

Werris Creek ( NSW )

The Werris Creek black coal mine is located on the Quirindi Road, four kilometres from Werris Creek, in the Central Northern Region of New South Wales.

Westside ( NSW )

The closure of the Westside coal mine in the Hunter Valley of NSW in February 2012 after almost 20 years of operation marked an end of an era.

Wilpinjong ( NSW )

The Wilpinjong open pit coal mine north east of Mudgee, in mid-west New South Wales, has sought approval to mine an additional three million tonnes of coal.

Baralaba ( QLD )

Coal mined at the Baralaba open pit mine in Queensland's Bowen Basin is exported from the port at Gladstone to steel mills in Asia.

Blackwater ( QLD )

The Blackwater coal mine in Queensland's Bowen Basin, one of the largest open cut coal mines in Australia, produces 14 million tonnes of coal annually.

Blair Athol ( QLD )

On Friday November 23, 2012, the excavators were switched off, trucks parked in line and the gates were closed. The Blair Athol Mine in Queensland was no more.

Boundary Hill ( QLD )

The Boundary Hill South open pit coal mine extension, 20 kilometres north of Biloela in Queensland ,will give the mine a life of 18 more years.

Burton ( QLD )

The Burton open cut coal mine in the Bowen Basin Region of Queensland, that stretches over 35 kilometres, has a life of mine due to expire in 2016.

Callide ( QLD )

The Callide coal mine in Queensland that produces coal for the Callide Power Station, is fully owned by Anglo American and remains for sale to a suitable buyer.

Clermont ( QLD )

The Clermont mine, near Clermont in Central Queensland, began production in 2010 to supply thermal coal for the export market over the next 17 years.

Collinsville ( QLD )

The Collinsville coal mine in the Bowen Basin Region of Queensland is part of the NCA Joint Venture partnership, majority owned by GlencoreXstrata.

Commodore ( QLD )

The Commodore coal mine, in the Surat Basin, 200 kilometres west of Brisbane, was one of the first open pit coal mines in the world to totally use biodiesel fuel.

Cook ( QLD )

The Cook Colliery was acquired by Caledon Resources from Xstrata in 2006, since then it has been mined under an innovative new underground mining technology.

Coppabella ( QLD )

The Coppabella open cut coal mine produces PCI (pulverised coal injection) coal that is transported to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal for export.

Crinum ( QLD )

The Crinum underground coal mine in Queensland's Bowen Basin was developed in 1997 as a replacement mine for the ailing Gregory open cut mine nearby.

Curragh ( QLD )

The Curragh Open Cut Coal Mine, in the Bowen Basin Region of Queensland, is a residential mine located near the town of Blackwater, two hours from Rockhampton.

Curragh North ( QLD )

Queensland's Bowen Basin Curragh North to Curragh 20 kilometre long overland coal conveyor, is the longest single flight conveyor in the world.

Dawson ( QLD )

The Dawson open cut black coal mine in the Southern Bowen Basin Region of Central Queensland consists of three pits; South, Central and North.

Dawson South ( QLD )

The Dawson South coal mine in the Bowen Basin Region of Queensland has had its environmental impact statement approved for the development of Stage Two.

Ensham ( QLD )

The Idemitsu, Japanese owned, Ensham open cut coal mine in Queensland's Bowen Basin, has, as its claim to fame, the worlds second largest drag-line.

Foxleigh ( QLD )

Foxleigh, an open pit coal mine in the Bowen Basin Region of Queensland, that was acquired by Anglo American in February 2008, employs around 250 personnel.

Gregory ( QLD )

The Gregory- Crinum black coal mine in the Bowen Basin Region of Queensland is experiencing a worrying future as owners BMA consider its sale prospects.

Jeebropilly ( QLD )

The Jeebrobilly coal mine ceased operations in February 2007 after a production life of 25 years. It reopened in 2008 when the price of export coal rose.

Kestrel ( QLD )

The Kestrel underground coal mine extension in the Bowen Basin Region of Queensland got underway in 2013. It will extent the life of mine by 20 years.

Kogan Creek ( QLD )

The CS Energy Kogan Creek coal mine in Queensland began its 11 year life of mine in 2006 to specifically provide coal to the Kogan Creek Power Station.

Lake Lindsay ( QLD )

When the Girrah coal deposit at German Creek in the Bowen Basin was acquired by Anglo Coal in 2003 it marked the start of the Lake Lindsay Project.

Meandu ( QLD )

State owned enterprise Stanwell purchased the Meandu Coal Mine in 2011 to secure a long term supply of coal to the Tarong and Tarong North power stations.

Minerva ( QLD )

Queensland's Minerva Mine owner, Sojitz Coal Mining Pty Ltd, is the one and only Japanese trading house directly operating a coal mine in Australia.

Moorvale ( QLD )

Moorvale open cut coal mine in Queensland is owned by Peabody with its strip/terrace mining operations handled by Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd.

Moranbah North ( QLD )

The Moranbah North underground black coal mine in the Bowen Basin Region of Queensland mines the Goonyella Middle Seam 200 metres below the surface.

New Acland ( QLD )

The New Acland mine that is located near Oakey in Queensland began production in 2002 and is currently producing five million tonnes of coal annually.

Poitrel ( QLD )

The Poitrel open cut coal mine near Moranbah in Queensland's Bowen Basin, that began production in 2006, is one of BMA's most recent mining developments.

Rolleston ( QLD )

Rolleston is the latest Glencore Xstrata coal mine to be opened in Australia. It is located in Queensland's Bowen Basin 16 kilometres from Rolleston.

Sonoma ( QLD )

The Sonoma mine in Queensland was established in 2007, its first export shipment made in early 2008 and it produces 4 million tonnes of coal products a year.

South Walker Creek ( QLD )

The BMC owned South Walker Creek open cut coal mine in the Bowen Basin Region of Queensland changed contractors from Thiess to HSE in February 2013.

Suttor Creek ( QLD )

The Suttor Creek open cut coal mine is part of the Newlands mining operations that has undergone considerable extension to maintain coal its production level.

Wilkie Creek ( QLD )

Peabody Energy's Wilkie Creek coal mine in Queensland's Surat Basin has been laying off workers to keep the mine viable during a downturn in world coal prices.

Yarrabee ( QLD )

Yarrabee coal mine produces both thermal and low volatile PCI coal for export to steel makers, power producers and heavy industry throughout the world.

Leigh Creek ( SA )

The Leigh Creek coalfield operated by Alinta Energy produces over 2.5 million tonnes of black coal a year supplying 40 percent of South Australian electricity

Kimbolton ( TAS )

The Kimbolton coal mine near Hamilton in Tasmania is an on and off project that supplies coal to its owners, Cement Australia, when needed.

Loy Yang ( VIC )

The Loy Yang mine in the Latrobe Valley of Victoria, 165 kilometres east of Melbourne, is the largest coal producing mine in the Southern Hemisphere.

Ewington ( WA )

The Ewington open cut coal mine near Collie in Western Australia specialises in producing thermal coal but also provides coal for metallurgical purposes.

Muja ( WA )

The Muja coal mine in Western Australia was mined from 1954 to 2010 by Griffin Coal. The extension project, Muja South, will come online in 2014.

Premier ( WA )

The Premier Coal mine, located near Collie, that provides fuel for power generation into the south west of Western Australia power grid, employs 300 people.

Newstan Lochiel ( NSW )

The Newstan Lochiel coal mining project in NSW is planned to process eight million tonnes of coal annually. Double the amount allowed at the Newstan Plant.

Cameby Downs ( NSW )

Chinese mining company Yancoal Australia purchased the Cameby Downs open pit coal mine, in the Surat Basin, Queensland, off Syntech Resources, in 2011.

Blackwood ( TAS )

The Blackwood Colliery near St Mary's in the Fingal Valley of north east Tasmania is owned by the Cornwall Coal Company a subsidiary of Cement Australia.

Integra Mine ( NSW )

The Integra (Glennies Creek) coal mining complex in New South Wales is located 12 kilometres from Singleton in the coal rich Upper Hunter Valley.

Howick ( NSW )

The Howick open pit coal mine in the Hunter Valley Region of NSW was merged with Hunter Valley Mines, to create the Hunter Valley Operations, in 2000.

Minyango ( QLD )

The Minyango coal mining project in Queensland is owned by Chinese company Guangdong Rising Assets Management through its subsidiary Caledon Resources.

Integra Camberwell ( NSW )

The Integra open cut mine in NSW's Hunter Valley is known as the Camberwell Colliery (Integra Camberwell). It is part of the Integra Mine Complex.

Moorlands ( QLD )

The Moorlands coal project in Queensland's Bowen Basin will be CuestaCoal's first coal mine to become operable in Australia when completed in 2016.

East Wandoan ( QLD )

The East Wandoan coal project, on the eastern edge of the Bowen Basin in Queensland, is being progressed by Chinese backed new coal miner CuestaCoal.

Eastern Galilee ( QLD )

The Cuesta Coal Eastern Galilee coal project, also known as the Yellow Jacket Project, is located between Charters Towers and Hughenden in Queensland.

Amberley ( QLD )

The CuestaCoal Amberley coal project is located near the Ebenezer mine site in the Clarence Moreton Basin near Ipswich in Queensland.

West Emerald ( QLD )

The West Emerald project is located 25 km north west the the Queensland Bowen Basin town of Emerald, adjacent to the Valeria and Taroborah coal deposits.

Montrose ( QLD )

The Montrose coal deposit between Rockhampton and Mackay in Queensland is being assessed by CuestaCoal for its thermal and coking coal export potential.

Alpha North Coal Project ( QLD )

The Waratah Coal – Alpha North Project in Queensland has received approval allowing it to begin engineering work in 2014 and to start exporting in 2016.

Springsure Creek ( QLD )

The Springsure Creek coal mining project in Queensland's Bowen Basin is scheduled to begin production in 2015 with a life of mine of 40 years.

Wallarah ( NSW )

The NSW Government has supported the approval of the Wallarah 2 coal mine near Newcastle stating there is no objection on environmental grounds.

Caroona Coal Project ( NSW )

Exploration project in the liverpool plains district of NSW which is named the Caroona Coal Project

Kopako ( NZ )

The Kopako open cut coal mine located at Kopuku, 70 kilometres south of Auckland, New Zealand, is a fully owned subsidiary of dairy company Fonterra.

Huntly East ( NZ )

The Huntly East underground coal mine, owned by Solid Energy New Zealand, is located 100 kilometres south of Auckland and north of the town of Huntly.

Takitimu ( NZ )

The Takitimu coal mine Coaldale block extension, in the Southland Region of New Zealand, is expected to extend the life of mine for a further 30 years.

Malvern Hills ( NZ )

Malvern Hills open cut coal mine on the South Island of New Zealand is to increase production from 35,000 to 100,000 tonnes of thermal coal a year.

Reddale Valley ( NZ )

The small Reddale Valley open cut coal mine near Reefton on the West Coast of New Zealand, was opened in 2012 to supply the large industry market.

New Vale ( NZ )

The New Vale open cut coal mine in the Eastern Southland of New Zealand produces 250,000 tonnes of coal annually for a dairy factory and local industry.

Terrace ( NZ )

The small Terrace underground mine at Reefton in New Zealand, formerly owned and operated by Solid Energy, is now owned by Crusader Coal Limited.

Giles Creek ( NZ )

The Giles Creek open cut coal mine near Teefton on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island produces one of the cleanest coals in the country.

Harliwich ( NZ )

The Harliwich open cut coal mine, that had its beginnings with the Harliwich Carrying Company in 1914, sells coal as humate to enhance agricultural pastures.

Castle Hill ( NZ )

The Castle Hill open cut coal mine near Kaitangata in South Otago, New Zealand, is owned by Kai Point Coal. It supplies coal to local markets.

Alpha ( QLD )

Government approval will finally allow the mining of billions of tonnes of high quality, thermal coal from the Galilee Basin in Queensland.

Alpha West ( QLD )

Alpha West thermal coal from the Galilee Basin in Queensland has the ability to lower greenhouse gas emissions from coal fired power stations.

Kevins Corner ( QLD )

The Kevins Corner coal mining project in the Galilee Basin of Queensland is still being proposed by GVK although it has been delayed until 2018.

China Stone ( QLD )

The China Stone coal mine in the Galilee Basin of Queensland will produce around 60 million tonnes of thermal coal a year for 40 years.

New Lenton ( QLD )

The New Lenton coal mining project is currently at the Environmental Impact Assessment stage and on the way for a 2016 start on construction.

Bylong Coal Project ( NSW )

The Bylong Coal Project in mid-west New South Wales is being developed by giant South Korean electricity producing company KEPCO.

Integra Glennies Creek Rixs Creek North ( NSW )

The Integra and Glennies Creek coal mines could once again come back to life in the future after being sold to the Bloomfield Group and Glencore in August, 2015.

Duchess Paradise ( WA )

Further development in the Duchess – Paradise coal mining project, in the Canning Basin area of the Kimberley, in Western Australia, is on hold while awaiting an upturn in the coal price.

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