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The Yallourn mine began operating in 1974, and is Australia’s second largest open-cut mine. The Yallourn mine produces brown coal that goes directly into its neighbouring power station, which is responsible for 22% of Victoria’s electricity.

This mine is located in the Latrobe valley, where the majority of Victoria’s mining takes place. The mine is located on one of the largest brown coalrndeposits globally – the coal seam itself is 16 kilometres across, 100 metres thick and runs for over 60 kilometres through the valley.

The Yallourn township that was built around the mine and the power station got its name from the Aboriginal word that means ‘always burning’, and given the size of the coal deposits here, that name is very fitting. The town lies 150 kilometres to the southeast of Melbourne.

The mine and power station are owned by EnergyAustralia, which in turn is owned by CLP Holdings, a major energy provider in the Asia-Pacific region that owns businesses all across Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, China, Australia and elsewhere in the region.

EnergyAustralia was previously known as TRUenergy, but the name was changed in 2012 following the company’s acquisition of the NSW business called EnergyAustralia, thus giving it the rights to the name. Yallourn is one of their three Australian coal mines, and the only one based in Victoria. The other two are in NSW. EnergyAustralia also owns four natural gas stations around the country, and two wind farms in South Australia.

The output from the Yallourn power station is sold straight into the National Electricity Market, and it comprises around 8% of the total electricity the market manages. The power station has a baseload of 1,480MW – enough to produce electricity for two million households. The power station churns through around 2,400 tonnes of brown coal during every hour of operation. While the moisture in brown coal makes it difficult to effectively burn, developments have been made over time to increase the productivity of the station and heavily reduce its carbon emissions.

Originally, before the management company RTL was introduced to manage the mine, the coal was removed from the coal seam by four coal dredges and one overburden dredge, massive machines that were well over 10 storeys high. The coal was then transported to the power station by conveyors.

The 18 million tonnes of brown coal that are now mined annually from Yallourn mine are collected using the dozer push mining method that RTL introduced as a replacement for the dredges. This means that the Yallourn mine is now the least expensive to operate out of all the mines in the Latrobe Valley.

The dozers used are modified Caterpillar D11 Carry Dozers that are fitted with custom made blades that are 90 cubic metres in size. These are matched with four specially designed McLanahan Feeder Breakers that channel the coal onto the conveyer belts for it to be taken to the power station.

Originally, the Yallourn coal seam was expected to be exhausted by 2007, and so the company orchestrated a diversion of the Morwell River so that the mine could access the coal sources that lie in the Maryvale coal field. If this had not been achieved, the power station would likely have faced closure. The 3.5 kilometre Morwell River Diversion enables the mine and power station to operate until 2032.

The major problem the mine has faced has not come from the exhaustion of coal reserves, but in fact from flooding. In 2007 one of the walls in the mine collapsed and the Latrobe River burst into the mine, damaging the conveyors used for transporting the coal and making the lower levels of the mine inaccessible. The investigation into the collapse found that it occurred due to water pressure in the clays that rest within layers of the coal seam. The flooding meant coal production was severely restricted for several weeks while hurried earthwork repairs took place.

In 2012 the mine was again affected by flooding when, in the process of the Morwell River Diversion, one of the levee banks collapsed. Once again, the Yallourn mine was flooded, its equipment and facilities were damaged, and its production limited to 25% of its usual capacity. CLP Holdings reported that the flooding and subsequent production limitations of the mine resulted in a loss of $300 million in revenue. However, the success of the Morwell River Diversion was vital to the mine being able to continue production up until 2032.

Energy Australia

Energy Australia provide energy needs to over 2.8 million households and businesses across the South-East of Australia, SA, NSW and Qld.Assets includeYallourn Power station, Waterloo Wind Farm, Iona Gas plant just to name a few.


Energy Australia
Level 33 385 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000


Phone03 8628 1000

View Energy Australia Page

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Thiess has a contract role at yallourn

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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