Vale seeks Integra expansion

VALE is proposing to extend the Integra mine complex in New South Wales as questions remain about its future and whether the company wishes to prepare it for sale.
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Integra Underground, courtesy Vale.

Lou Caruana

Integra is seeking approval from the NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure to modify its project approvals to extend the north open cut out-of-pit dump to the east and south and increase the maximum height of the NOC emplacements from 135m to 141m.

It is also seeking the relocation of the existing NOC crib hut site and the extension of the timeframe stipulated in Condition 48 of its approvals, which requires the installation and operation of an overland conveyor from the underground surface facilities to the Camberwell coal handling and preparation plant.

Three mining operations plans have been prepared for the complex: Integra open cut; the north open cut; and Integra underground. An amendment to the north open cut MOP will be needed to accommodate changes associated with the proposed modifications.

The underground and open cut are two separate operations but a number of activities are integrated or jointly undertaken including: management of water; coal handling and preparation; management of coarse and fine rejects; and transport of product coal.

The underground operation produces high quality, semiâ€Ã‚hard coking coal for export, with the current approved production level set at a maximum of 4.5 million tonnes per annum of run of mine coal.

Coal is approved to be extracted from the Hebden, Barrett and Middle Liddell seams and transported to the surface via conveyor where it is hauled by internal road to the CHPP at the Integra open cut.

All product coal is transported by rail to the Port of Newcastle.

The open cut coal mining operations are located south of Integra underground and comprise the north open cut and south open cut, including the recently approved western extension.

The open cut operations produce both semiâ€Ã‚soft coking coal (70%) and thermal coal (30%) for export. Current approved maximum production levels are 1.5Mtpa of ROM coal from the NOC and 4.5Mtpa of ROM coal from the SOC.

Waste rock from the NOC operations is emplaced both in-pit within the NOC pit shell and out-of-pit in an emplacement area directly south of the NOC pit.

The approved NOC out-of-pit emplacement footprint is approximately 43ha with a maximum height of 135m. Waste rock from the NOC pit is loaded onto haul trucks by excavators for transportation to the emplacement area.

Depending on the location of the active emplacement face, waste rock is transported using a combination of temporary or permanent ramps and haul roads.

Infrastructure at the NOC includes a crib site located between the approved NOC emplacement area and Tailings Dam 2 which is used by Integra staff.

The site contains two portable buildings used as crib huts, an ablution block, office and a 5,000l water tank. The site is used by mining crews as a rest and lunch area during their shifts.

Consistent with the underground mine, ROM coal is hauled by internal road to the CHPP and product coal transported by rail to the Port of Newcastle.

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