Austar Coal Mine (Austar) is a deep underground coal mine located approximately 10km south-west of Cessnock in the Newcastle coalfields of New South Wales, Australia. The mine is an aggregate of the former Pelton, Ellalong, Cessnock No 1 (Kalingo) and Bellbird South Collieries.
The local community of Cessnock has a long and proud association with coal mining. Austar was the last remaining mine to produce coal in the Cessnock Area.
Mining operations at Austar commencing with the opening of the Pelton Colliery in 1916. The Pelton Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) was constructed in 1960-1961. Underground mining began at the current pit top facilities in 1978 with coal delivered to the Pelton CHPP by an overland conveyor. In 1998, Pelton and Ellalong Collieries amalgamated with Bellbird South and were renamed Southland Colliery.
In December 2004, Yancoal purchased 100% of the Southland Coal Mine, which consisted of the former Ellalong, Pelton and Southland Collieries, and renamed the operation Austar. Austar was placed in care and maintenance in March 2020 and in February 2021, a decision was made by Yancoal to transition Austar from care and maintenance to closure.
At the time of closure, surface operations included:
- Austar Pit Top facilities (including administration buildings, the main access drift, coal clearance, store, workshop and laydown facilities),
- Pelton CHPP area (including CHPP, administration areas, Reverse Osmosis plant, overland conveyor and a number of heritage listed buildings in various states of repair),
- No 1 shaft (second egress man winder),
- No 2 shaft (mine dewatering),
- Kalingo Infrastructure Area (ventilation fans and underground services),
- Kitchener Surface Infrastructure Site (ventilation shafts and fans, services borehole/drophole); and
- coarse reject emplacement areas (Aberdare Extended Emplacement Area (EEA), and Bellbird Areas 12 and 13).
Austar is undertaking mine closure planning and execution works to ultimately decommission and rehabilitate the site to a safe, stable and non-polluting post mining land use.
A pictorial review of the 100 year history of mining at Austar is linked below.
WHO IS YANCOAL AUSTRALIA?
Yancoal Australia Ltd is a listed public company (ASX Code: YAL) with a business focus on the Australian coal industry. The Company is one of the largest export coal miners in Australia, producing both thermal and metallurgical coals from its portfolio of mines located in Queensland and New South Wales. Yancoal also manages on behalf of its majority shareholder (Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited) an additional two mines located in Queensland and Western Australia.