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About: The Westside open cut coal mine at Wakefield in New South Wales, that began operations in 1992 to provide fuel for the nearby Eraring Power Station, finally reached the end of its life in February 2012 when mine owners Xstrata and Oceanic Coal decided there was no longer any coal left on the site that could be economically mined.

The Westside mine had been operated by Thiess Australian Mining for the owners for the last nine years of the mine's life, a period when there was no Loss Time Injury (LTI) recorded and no injury recorded at all for the last four years. Workers at the mine were proud of the fact that their mine was the most productive coal mine in the Hunter Valley region in terms of production tonnes per team member.

Westside's rehabilitation of the site where the mine once existed stands as an example of what can be achieved in returning land to how it was before mining took place there. The Westside mine is one of three coal mines in the same area that are managed by Oceanic Coal Australia Pty Ltd (OCAL) and owned by Xstrata Coal (Australia) Pty Ltd that are involved in integrated rehabilitation and closure.

Westside mine has always been a special case because of its close proximity to the urban fringe of Newcastle. Progressive rehabilitation has therefore always been a high priority with the company. This was necessary to allow Xstrata to be able to retain a sound relationship with the local population as it continually battled a noise and dust problem. It was always necessary therefore to be seen in a positive light improving the visual appeal of mined out areas and controlling dust emissions. The company's efforts in this area along with a strong public relations effort had resulted in no community complaints being lodged against the operation since 2007.

Eventual closing of the Westside mining operation had been high in the company's mind since the early 2000's when detailed closure plans were first developed. It was decided then that the last pit at Westside would remain as a stockpile for reject coal from the company's nearby washery and that rehabilitation would be integrated with closure plans of other nearby mines owned by Xstrata. The remaining land was to rehabilitated back into bushland and act as a buffer zone.

Despite the Westside mine being operated by an independent mining contractor before closure the mine owners ensured they were always in control of all aspects concerning rehabilitation. A special Westside management team was quite active in this area and it became an important part of the day to day management of the mining operations. Specialist staff were employed in planting vegetation at the best time of the year and a lot of work was put into controlling weed and erosion problems. Westside took a prominent role in taking part in industry research that helped it in improving its rehabilitation techniques.

Now the Westside mine has finished its active service it leaves behind a site that's rehabilitated to the highest environmental standards and is both safe and stable. The Westside open cut coal mine has been through the full cycle, from exploration through to development, then 20 years of operation and now closure and rehabilitation. It was the first open cut coal mine to operate in the Lake Macquarie area and there is little doubt it will also be the last.rn

Xstrata Coal

Xstrata Coal's Head Office is based in Sydney NSW but they operate globally. Employing more than 17,000 people including contractors with the majority working in Australia. Xstrata has been included on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index since 2006.Operations include both underground and open more


Xstrata Coal
Level 38 Gateway, 1 Macquarie Place
Sydney, NSW 2000


Phone02 9253 6700

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Thiess has a contract role at westside

Starting out over 75 years ago, today are one of Australia's leading construction, mining and services contractor.Spanning a large workforce over Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and India, delivering project management and onsite services for ongoing operations.Thiess own approximately $3 billion ...Read More


Level 5, 143 Coronation Drive
Milton, QLD 4064

Level 5, 143 Coronation Drive
Milton, QLD 4064


Phone07 3037 5000
fax07 3037 5001

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Following are the resources mined at Westside

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