The Mount Owen mine complex is halfway between Singleton and Muswellbrook in NSW.
The site is made up of the Mt Owen, Ravensworth East and Glendell open cut coal mines; all are owned and managed by Xstrata Mt Owen (formerly Hunter Valley Coal Corporation) on behalf of Xstrata Coal.
The integration of the mines enables all sites to utilise existing infrastructure and coal handling facilities.
As Mt Owen is between two regional thrust faults, the Hunter and Hebden Thrust, it limits the lateral extend for the coal seams. The seam dips vary throughout, up to 45 degrees in some spots.
Mining throughout the complex is very similar.
It is carried out by large excavators and haul trucks which are supported by ancillary equipment such as water carts, dozers, graders fuel and service carts.
After the site has been drilled and blasted, excavation and haulage takes place. The coal that is uncovered is taken to the coal handling preparation plant (CHPP) for processing, where the coal is conveyed to the stockpile before being transported by rail to the Port of Newcastle for export.
Blasting occurs on site between 9am and 5pm. The overburden is then excavated in a series of horizontal 5m benches and loaded onto rear dump trucks for transportation to the overburden emplacement areas.
The Mount Owen Complex is designed to operate on a ‘just-in-time’ basis, which means the majority of the ROM coal is directly fed to the CHPP without stockpiling.