The adit site, located 7km from Muswellbrook, will cost the company $20 million and involve a single set of roadways developed completely within the coal seam off the existing Bayswater No. 3 highwall.
If approved, the proposed underground longwall project at Mt Arthur Coal would increase the current run of mine production by a further 6-8 million tonnes per annum.
This would bring the total planned future coal production from the Mt Arthur Coal mining complex to potentially 23Mtpa ROM. When fully operational, the proposed underground project could create up to 250 jobs.
Mt Arthur Coal’s Underground Project director, Matthew Cooper, told International Longwall News the exploration adit development itself would create 60 operator jobs and provide valuable information on geology, coal quality and mining conditions.
Cooper said the adit would take two years to complete and following approval, construction works were planned to commence before Christmas this year, with operations starting in early 2007.
Cooper said a range of studies have already been completed for the environmental assessment report prepared for the project, which have determined there will be no significant environmental or community impacts given the location, type and extent of proposed mining.
“The exploration adit has been designed to minimise the potential for environmental impacts as all surface infrastructure will be located on land owned by Mt Arthur Coal with the majority of surface facilities located within an existing opencut mining void,” he said.
The $20 million figure for the adit will cover mining, equipment and facilities, providing a significant economic benefit to the regional economy.