The aim of the Hume Coal Project is to establish and operate a world-class, high-tech, underground mining facility producing around three million tonnes a year of essential raw materials – i.e. metallurgical coal for steel-making and industrial coal for cement production and power generation. The project design will ensure environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Hume Coal is a subsidiary of POSCO Australia, which in turn is wholly owned by Korean company POSCO.
The proposed mine is a low-impact, underground operation. There will be no open-cut mining, no longwall mining and no coal-seam gas. Hume Coal plans to extract high-quality coking and industrial coal from the Wongawilli seam 70 to 180 metres below ground, using an extraction method, known as first-workings, designed to preserve the long-term stability of the overlying strata and landscape above.
The proposed coal extraction area extends from the Illawarra Highway in the south to the Belanglo State Forest in the west.
The mine design also considers the impacts on local groundwater bores in and around the mine extraction area. Hume Coal will ensure that all groundwater bores will be managed in accordance with the NSW Aquifer Interference Policy. The low impact first-workings mine design will ensure faster recovery of groundwater levels in private bores once mining in an area has been completed. There will be no impact on town water supplies and no subsidence impacts on natural waterways or surface features such as farm dams.
As detailed in the environmental impact statement, Hume Coal has considered the visual amenity of the area. Considerable time has been spent ensuring that the surface infrastructure design integrates into the existing landscape. All surface infrastructure is located on land owned by the company and will include facilities such as administration blocks, bathhouse, covered conveyors, a coal preparation plant, stacker-reclaimer stockpiling and a rail loading facility. A new rail loop will be constructed which will join the existing Berrima Branch line.
Purpose-built, fully-enclosed rail wagons will be hauled by the latest generation of locomotives from the loading point to Port Kembla, via the Moss Vale to Unanderra line.
In full production the Hume Coal Project would employ 300 people and 400 during construction.