The Appin underground coal mine is located in the Macarthur Region of New South Wales, 25 kilometres North West of Woolongong.
Long -wall Underground Mining Introduced at the Appin Mine in 1969
The mining of high quality black coking coal for the steel industry at the Appin Colliery began in 1962 by exploiting the Bulli seam. Long wall mining techniques at the mine began in 1969. The adjoining Douglas mine is being developed as a replacement for the Appin mine into the future. The mine has experienced tragedy during its long life when, on July 24, 1979, a methane gas explosion three kilometres underground, caused the death of 14 miners.
Longwall mining has continued at the Appin Mine since it was first introduced in 1969. The technique requires mechanised shearers to cut the coal from the coal face before removing it and having it transported by means of a chain driven conveyor to a second conveyor that takes it to the surface. While this is taking place the roof of the area being mined is supported by hydraulic-powered roof supports. After the area is mined out most of the long-wall panel is dropped behind the supports. This forms what is known as a 'goaf.'
Appin Colliery Owned and Operated by Illawarra Coal
The Appin underground coal mine is owned by BHP Billiton through its wholly owned subsidiary, Illawarra Coal. Illawarra Coal also own and operate the West Cliff and Dendrobium coal mines which are located in the New South Wales Southern Coalfields, as is the Appin Mine. The company operates two coal processing facilities in the same area, one at the Dendrobium Colliery and the other at the West Cliff mine.
Coal produced at the Appin Mine is taken to the Port Kembla Coal Terminal for export overseas. This coal terminal, that is leased from the New South Wales state government, is operated by Illawarra Coal on behalf a consortium of partners that include; Centennial Coal, Tahmoor Coal, Peabody and Xstrata Coal.
Appin Coal Mine has two Vertical Ventilation Shafts and two Drifts
The Appin black coal mine has two vertical ventilation shafts and two drifts, or inclined tunnels. The shafts at the mine are 540 metres deep and the drifts extend to a distance of about 1.8 kilometres. The bigger drifts, that are 2.5 metres by 3.5 metres use an automatic winder to move materials and people along it, in a train. The smaller drifts, that are 2.3 metres by 2.6 metres, contain the conveyor belts that take the coal to the surface. The coal mined at the Appin Colliery is washed, blended and processed before being exported. The washing of the coal utilises drums, jigs, cyclones and a flotation process to clean the coal to export quality. The Dendrobium washery has a handling capacity of 535 tonnes an hour and the West Cliff Colliery a capacity of 1050 tonnes an hour.
The Appin Area 9 Project to Replace the West Cliff Mine
A new operation, the Appin Area 9 Project, that will become operational in 2016, will effectively replace the West Cliff coal mine. When it becomes operational the Appin Area 9 Project will increase the Appin Mine production by 3.5 million tonnes of coking coal a year, therefore retaining the companies annual production of nine million tonnes annually. The Appin Area 9 Project includes the construction of roads, ventilation infrastructure, reconfigured and new conveyors and other mine requirements.
BHP Billiton have been in the industry for over 150 years & are among the largest producers of major commodities such as aluminium, copper, coal, iron ore, silver & branching out into oil & gas.They have over 100 locations throughout the world & employ more than 100,000 employees &...........read more