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The Bulga coal mining operation is located 15 kilometres south west of Singleton in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, adjacent to the town of Broke. It consists of a coal handling and preparation plant, an underground mine and an open cut operation that produces around 16 million tonnes of thermal and semi soft coking coal annually. The coal mined is exported out of the Newcastle port to China and Japan, where it is used for power generation and steel making.

Coal mining began at the Bulga open cut in 1982 after BHP received approval to begin operations at the site. At that time it was known as the Saxonvale Coal Mine. Underground mining began at South Bulga in 1994 . Both operations are managed by Xstrata Coal Bulga, a wholly owned subsidiary of Glencore Xstrata, the largest coal mining company in New South Wales.

There are approximately 1,000 people employed at the Bulga coal mining complex that extends over an area of 5,500 hectares of land. The Bulga mining complex consists of three distinct operations; the Bulga underground mine, the Bulga open cut mine and the Bulga coal handling and preparation plant:

- The Bulga underground coal mining operation. The underground mine at the Bulga complex is operated as a retreat longwall mining operation that extracts coal from four coal seams; the Woodlands Hill, Glen Munro, Blakefield and Whybrow seams, that are expected to remain in operation until 2030. Long wall mining began at the Blakefield South coal seam in 2010, with long wall mining of the Blakefield North seam due to commence in 2016. The retreat long wall mining operation being practiced at the Bulga Mine retrieves up to 80 percent of the available coal.

- Underground development mining. The underground development mining being undertaken at the Bulga Mine involves the preparation of long wall mining. It is the creation of a decline that provides access to the coal seam that can be used for coal clearance conveyors, communication systems, electricity, water, ventilation, machinery and personnel. The decline is three metres high, five metres wide and is constructed the full length of the long wall panel that is usually around two kilometres long. The coal is removed from the coal seam with the use of a continuous miner and the roof secured with steel mesh held in place by roof bolts. The Blakefield South seam long wall panels between 130 and 355 metres below the surface, are typically 400 metres wide and about 3.5 kilometres long.
Bulga open cut mining operations. The Bulga open cut mine is operated via a dragline, truck and shovel method to extract coal from the Woodlands Hill, Glen Munro, Blakefield, Wambo and Redbank coal seams. Surface operations are expected to continue at the Bulga open cut mine until 2035. this will provide economic support to the nearby towns of Broke, Milbrodale and Bulga during that period.

- Bulga Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP). In 2010 the Bulga coal processing plant received the Mineral Processing Plant of the Year award. This award followed the installation of a paste thickener, the first of its kind to be utilised in coal processing. A paste thickener, thickens tailings and saves on water usage, power needs and reduces storage space. Clean processed coal is taken from the one million tonne stockpile and loaded into a 1,500 tonne train loading bin. Thirty five trains a month carrying 8,500 tonnes of coal each, transport the coal from the CHPP to the Newcastle port for export.

Note- GlencoreXstrata was formed following a merger of Glencore International and Xstrata, the merger was completed in May 2013. But a decision was made by the Company's shareholders during the annual general meeting and the announcement was made in May 2014 that Glencore will drop Xstrata and be simply known as Glencore.


Glencore dates back to 1974 as Marc Rich & Co, focused on minerals, metals and crude oil. In the 1980's Glencore added coal to their portfolio. Glencore is one of the worlds largest natural resource companies with more than 90 offices in over 50 countries, over 150 mining and metallurgical more


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