A NSW mining company is hoping to tunnel under the New England Highway to improve access to its coal mining operations in the Hunter Valley.
Rix’s Creek has applied to the Department of Planning to develop a $9 million crossing under the main road to improve access at its Singleton mine, located 210km north west of Sydney.
Environmental officer for the project, John Hindmarsh said the new crossing will improve efficiency and minimise the carbon footprint of the mine, which is currently separated by the highway.
“It will shorten the distance required to haul coal to our preparation plant and provide more direct access to transport overburden to mining sites for rehabilitation purposes,” he told MINING DAILY.
“Shorter travelling distances will deliver environmental benefits by minimising greenhouse gas emissions from large mining trucks.”
While the new crossing is not expected to change the output of the mine, Hindmarsch said it will boost efficiency and performance of the company’s existing operations.
“After considering alternatives for the past 12 months, the tunnel is by far the best option to boost access and improve the diversity of the Singleton mine,” he said.
Construction may take up to six months, during which highway traffic would be diverted onto a side road for approximately 12 weeks.
Development plans have been submitted to the Department of Planning and final approvals are yet to be given the green light. If all approvals are granted, the project is expected to be completed by early 2010.