Coal Mine of the Year – Finalists revealed

Anglo American’s - Capcoal mine; Centennial Coal’s - Myuna mine; Xstrata’s Newlands - surface mine; Centennial Coal’s - Mandalong mine; Xstrata’s - Ravensworth mine;

Anglo American’s ­Capcoal mine

For a massive drop in injuries combined with a huge increase in its output, Anglo American’s Capcoal coal mine has been nominated for the Coal Mine of the Year. Over the last 18 months Capcoal’s surface operations have seen significant lifts in productivity due to improved equipment performance, remote maintenance operations, and an unswerving focus on safety and achieving zero harm. On top of this was the recent upgrade to its coal handling preparation plant (CHPP) which has enabled it to increase throughput to 15 million tonnes of coal per annum.

In the last 12 months Capcoal’s surface operations have slashed its TRCFR by 75 per cent, including seeing its electrical maintenance workshop achieve 22 years lost time injury free in July of this year. It has also managed to safely introduce a rope shovel into its operations, and implement a remote monitoring system to identify equipment issues before they become a serious problem. Capcoal increased its conveyor’s weekly throughput by 50 per cent.


Image: Capcoal’s CHPP upgrade has increased coal throughput and improved blending capability to meet customer needs: hard coking coal, PCI and thermal coal.

Centennial Coal’s Myuna mine

Centennial Coal has nominated its Myuna Colliery for Coal Mine of the Year in recognition of its workers’ innovation.

In its drive for safety, Myuna’s miners have developed a new system for towing heavy equipment that allows for movement in three plans, allowing large equipment to easily be towed over the rough undulating ground found in underground mines.

While this has reduced the difficulties of towing operations, it has also eliminated the need for a second operator to steer the equipment, therefore eliminating the risk posed to this additional operator.

The system provides superior control to previous methods and has reduced the risk of collisions underground with people, plant, roof/ribs and services such as high
pressure air/water or electrical cables.

This has made towing operations involving large equipment safer for Myuna’s employees and the Colliery

The team at Myuna developed the hitch in conjunction with local engineering firm SOTO.


Xstrata’s Newlands ­surface mine

Innovation on site has seen Xstrata’s Newlands surface operations nominated for the Coal Mine of the Year award.

Workers at the site found that dozer final drives often get covered in mud, allowing the mud to work its way into the final through the duo-cone seal, which causes significant damage.

This damage results in considerable business impact, namely maintenance repair costs, production delays, and exposure of maintenance personnel to unnecessary risk. It developed a solution to design a final drive scraper (wiper arm) which attaches to the final drive and removes
mud and build up from accumulating around the duo cone seal area. This initiative is a cheap, simple and feasible engineering solution to a common and expensive business problem.

The innovation was designed and developed by an employee of the Newlands Surface Operations Maintenance Department, Ashley Carvolth, in response to an identified safety and production issue.


Centennial Coal’s Mandalong mine

In its drive to become Australia highest producing longwall mine and to minimise injuries, Centennial Coal’s Mandalong mine has been recognised as a finalist for the Coal Mine of the Year award.

Last year the mine was New South Wales’ highest producing longwall, and the second best in Australia.

This has been achieved after five years of continuous effort and innovation.

Its projects have included upgrades to its conveyor and coal handling systems, installation of new infrastructure to remove bottlenecks in the system and the construction of a dedicated 3.4 kilometre private haul road to allow its coal to now enter the export market.

Workers at the mine have redesigned its longwall conveyor transfer points to allow for peak tonnage rates of up to 5000 tonnes per hour, installed improved transfer points on trunk conveyors,
and managed to cut the duration of longwall relocations.

Image courtesy of Centennial Coal

Xstrata’s Ravensworth mine

For its multi-pronged approach to innovation, environmental management, safety, and community interaction, Xstrata’s Ravensworth open cut mine has been nominated for the Coal Mine of the Year award. Operating both the Narama and Ravensworth North open cuts near Singleton and Muswellbrook, the mines have jointly been in operation since the early 1990s and will run until 2015. Ravensworth North itself is a new mine that begin operations this year and is currently building to a capacity of more than 14 million tonnes per annum of ROM coal by 2014, and is forecast to run for close to 30 years.

Ravensworth as a whole has actively sought to implement real time production and maintenance systems to move the operation forward. These systems include blast and weather monitoring to accurately predict noise and dust conditions following blasts. Water management has also been a key concern, with Ravensworth developing an adaptive water system.

Image: Ravensworth North Project site overview.

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