Rix Creek coal mine

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The Rix Creek coal mine is an existing underground and opencast coal mine, with planning approval for an extension of operations until 2040.[1] The mine is located 5km from Singleton, 90 kilometres from the Port of Newcastle, in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia.[2]

The mine incorporates both the Rix's Creek South and Rix's Creek North (formerly Integra) operations. In addition to its own production, the mine provides coal washing and bulk handling services for another producer.[3]

Location

The undated image below shows the exact location of the existing mine.

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Coal Mine Background

In December 2015, HV Coking Coal (Glencore) completed the purchase of 100% of the Integra Mining Operations Complex, renaming it Rix’s Creek North.[4] Bloomfield Collieries (BCL) subsequently purchased from Glencore, the previous Integra open cut operations, coal handling preparation plant, train loading infrastructure and the rail loop. Under the “Operating, infrastructure access and services agreement”, entered into by Glencore and BCL, all existing mining operations covered by the 2010 Integra complex consent, Integra underground project and project Integra open cut project, can continue. BCL operate the open cut operations as Rix’s Creek Northern Operations (RCN). This governs open cut mining in the Camberwell Pit area. Delivery of coal from the underground mine, coal preparation and train loading operations are all operated and managed by BCL.[5]

In 2009, the Integra mine was owned by Integra Coal, which is 61.2% owned by Vale Australia with other partners being NSC, JFE, Posco and Toyota.[6]

Expansion

The mine has had a number of extensions granted. Most recently in October 2019 with operations allowed to continue until 2040, instead of closing in 2020.[7]

Tim Buckley of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said, "The decision to approve expansion of the Rix’s Creek coal mine by the New South Wales (NSW) Independent Planning Commission (IPC) was based on a lopsided cost benefit analysis that minimised tax benefits and cost externalities to the people of NSW, a wrongful representation understating the mine’s rehabilitation needs, and extraordinary pressure from NSW government ministers following a campaign led by the NSW Minerals Council."[8]

The extension application was approved by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) on 4 October 2019. A few hours later, the IPC reversed its approval. On 12 October the Rix’s Creek Extension Project was again approved by the IPC, less than 24 hours after new submissions were received. The IPC had failed to wait until the deadline for submissions regarding the extension application, hence making the decision twice, with little time to come consider fully all representations.[8]

Some of the opposition to the extension of this mine comes as a result of the cumulative impact of the significant number of mines operating in the Hunter Valley.[8]

Project Details

  • Sponsor:
  • Parent Company: Bloomfield Group[3]
  • Location: 5km from Singleton, New South Wales
  • GPS Coordinates: -32.513314, 151.143889 (accurate)
  • Status: Operational, plans to extend
  • Production Capacity: 3 mtpa in 2018. 4.5 million tonnes is permitted,[9] with an extension the output is expected to be the same, extracting an additional 25 million tonnes by 2040
  • Total Resource:
  • Mineable Reserves:
  • Coal type: thermal coal and semi-soft coking coal[3]
  • Mine Size:
  • Mine Type: Underground and open-cut[5]
  • Start Year: 1990[3] extension without break intended
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and resources

References

  1. Salomae Haselgrove, "Rix’s Creek receives valid approval to operate until 2040", Australian Mining website, 15 October 2019.
  2. Mining Accidents and Disasters, "Rix's Creek Mine", Mining Accidents and Disasters website, 13 December 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Bloomfield Group, "Rix's Creek", Bloomfield Group website, accessed 22 November 2019.
  4. Bloomfield Group, "Our history", Bloomfield Group website, accessed 22 November 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bloomfield Group, "Rix’s Creek Mine 2018 Annual Review", page 10, Bloomfield Group website, 29 March 2019.
  6. Vale, "Annual Report 2009: Coal", Vale, accessed January 2011.
  7. Bloomfield Group, "Rix’s Creek Mine 2018 Annual Review", page 2, Bloomfield Group website, 29 March 2019.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Tim Buckley, "IEEFA Australia: Rix’s Creek Coal Mine Extension approved despite wrongful representation of cost externalities and increase to global emissions", IEEFA website, 30 October 2019.
  9. Bloomfield Group, "Rix’s Creek Mine 2018 Annual Review", page 21, Bloomfield Group website, 29 March 2019.

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