Springvale Coal mine is a finalist in the 5th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards for its innovation and commitment to improving production at the minesite.
Springvale Coal is located within the Western Coalfield of NSW, approximately 15 kilometres north-west of Lithgow.
It has a reputation throughout the Australian coal mining industry as having some of the most difficult underground mining conditions. The two major risks at the mine are the difficult ground conditions and the large amount of water present.
When the mine first began, both of these core risks were extremely difficult to manage with the technology and knowledge available.
Employees worked in waders in waste deep mud and water, having to deal with extremely heavy roof and frequent roof falls.
Production and development float were difficult to obtain.
The mine was originally set up as a 1.6 MTPA operation in 1992. However, since this time, and regardless of the site conditions, Springvale has been able to ramp up production, thanks to the development of a Strata Management System.
The Strata Management System is based on extensive roof monitoring, an intensive inspection regime, TARPS and a Geological Structural Model.
Once in place, the system increased the amount of pre-tension at the mining face in a weak roof environment and improved the ergonomics of the mine. The system also reduced the amount of unexpected rockfalls.