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The Howick coal mine is located 24 kilometres north west of Singleton in the Hunter Valley Region of New South Wales. It is owned by Coal and Allied Industries Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto Coal Australia. In 2000 the Howick Mine became part of Rio Tinto's Hunter Valley Operations as a result of the merger with Hunter Valley Mines. Hunter Valley Operations supply over 12 million tonnes of semi soft coking and thermal coal to the international coal market each year.

The Howick Open pit Mine was Coal and Allied's First Mine in the Hunter Valley
Coal production began at Coal and Allied's Hunter Valley Operations in 1968 at the West Pit, that, at the time, was part of the Howick Mine. The Hunter Valley No. 1 mine came into production in 1979 and it was these two mines that were combined to create the Hunter Valley Operation. Another mine, the Lemington Coal Mine, that came online in 1971, was acquired by Coal and Allied in 2001 and added to the Hunter Valley Operation. In 2009, Coal and Allied was given formal approval by the New South Wales state government to operate the Hunter Valley Operation as one entity for the following 21 years, therefore eliminating the need for multiple approvals relevant to each of the mines making up the consortium. This single approval allowed the mining of an extra 84 million tonnes of coal along with the upgrading of much of the mines infrastructure.

The Hunter Valley Operation now Employs Over 1,000 Personnel
The Hunter Valley Operation, that includes the Howick Mine, uses the dragline, truck and shovel technique at all its open pit mine sites. It employs over 1,000 personnel who keep the mines operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year.

Coal Taken to Newcastle for Export
Rio Tinto's Hunter Valley Operation is centred around the Whittingham Coal Measure of the wider Hunter Valley Coalfield that is part of the Sydney basin. In 2001 there was 1.8 million tonnes of semi soft coking coal and 10 million tonnes of thermal coal extracted from this coalfield by the combined Coal and Allied operations. This coal is washed and made ready for sale before it is loaded onto railway wagons and taken the 90 kilometres to the Newcastle, Port Waratah coal terminal from where it is exported to the company's overseas customers.

Approval Sought to Extend Mining Activity at the Hunter Valley Operation
At the end of December 2011 the Hunter Valley Operation had saleable coal reserves of 227 million tonnes and is now seeking approval from the NSW state government to increase its fine reject storage facility to allow ongoing mining in the area. This approval involves the following changes:

- An amendment that will the Hunter Valley Operation North Development boundary to encompass the Cumnock void 3
- The construction of pipelines from the Hunter Valley Operation North Treatment Plant to transfer fine reject coal to the Cumnock void 3
- The construction of a fine reject plant north of the Carringtion pit that will receive fine reject coal from the other Hunter Valley Operation's North coal treatment plants

Mine Divided Into two by the Hunter River
The mining and coal treatment activities at the Hunter Valley Operation are
divided geographically by the Hunter River. This division creates the Hunter Valley Operation North and the Hunter Valley Operation South and although the operation is managed as one operation, the north and south entities are forced to have separate planning approvals.

Old Howick Open pit now Howick Forest
Much of the original Howick open pit mine has now been rehabilitated into the Howick forest. This forest has been created from Corymbia maculata seedlings adjacent to the Bayswater Power Station and acts as a means to store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The Howick forest is part of an 80 hectare forest now covering former open pit mining excavations at the Hunter Valley Operation mine site.

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a major producer of iron ore, coal, bauxite, alumina, aluminium, uranium, copper, gold, diamonds, salt and energy across the globe. Businesses include open pit and underground mines, refineries, smelters, mills and power stations. Also a number of research facilities more


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