The Ashton Coal Project (ACP) is a coalmine located 14 km northwest of Singleton in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. The ACP is adjacent to the Open-Cut mines of Glendell (Glencore), Rixs Creek and Rixs Creek North (Bloomfield Group), Hunter Valley Operations (Rio Tinto) and Ravensworth Operations (Glencore).
The ACP is operated by Ashton Coal Operations Limited (ACOL) and includes an underground coal mine, a Coal Handling and Preparation Plant, a rail siding and an open cut mine that has now been completed. The Ashton Underground Coal Mine is approved to produce 5.45 Mtpa of coal. This coal is predominantly exported through the Port of Newcastle, New South Wales.
ACP and ACOL are wholly owned subsidiaries of Yancoal Australia Ltd.
The Underground mine workings are located to the south of the New England Highway. Access is from the northern side of the New England Highway via portals in the southern highwall of the Arties Pit. The main headings are generally aligned beneath and adjacent the New England Highway corridor, minimising the impact of subsidence whilst maximising the recoverable area to the south. The underground mine is a multi-seam operation mining the Pikes Gully, Upper Liddell, Upper Lower Liddell and the Lower Barrett seams of the Foybrook formation. Coal is mined via longwall extraction methods. The underground operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The underground mine extracts approximately 3.2 Mtpa of ROM coal.
Mining has been completed in the Pikes Gully Seam (first seam). Extraction Plan approval has been gained for Longwall panels 101 to 107 in the Upper Liddell Seam (second seam) and for Longwall panels 201 – 204 in the Upper Lower Liddell Seam (ULLD). Extraction in the ULLD seam (third seam) commenced in July 2017.
The Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) is located in the north-western corner of the project. It initially comprised a 400 tonnes per hour (tph) dense medium cyclone plant with spirals, together with ROM coal and Product coal stockpiling facilities. The CHPP operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The CHPP produces high quality semi-soft coal for use in the steel manufacturing industry and thermal coal for use in power generation. Coal is loaded onto trains at a dedicated rail siding and transported to the Port of Newcastle for export on the international market.
Environmental performance is monitored closely at Ashton Coal to ensure standards are maintained or improved and that operations remain in compliance with the Development consent, Environmental Protection Licence, Environmental Management Plans and internal standards.