Ownership: Xstrata Coal Queensland (55%), Sumisho Coal Australia (25%), Itochu Coal Resources Australia (15%) ICRA OC (10%)
The Oaky Creek Coal (OCC) mine is comprised of two underground operations and a coal preparation plant. The mine is about 65 kilometres north-west of Blackwater, between the towns of Tieri and Middlemount in Central Queensland. Coal from the mine is exported from ports at Mackay and Gladstone to customers in Japan, Asia, Europe, North Africa and South America.
Mining began at OCC by open-pit dragline methods in 1982, with saleable coal produced from December 1983. Underground mining began in July 1989 with longwall operations established at Oaky number one mine in 1990. Development work for a second underground longwall mine began at the Oaky north mine in 1995, and longwall coal was first produced in February 1999. Open-pit operations ceased in December 2006.
Mining occurs from the German Creek formation of late permian age, dipping from east to south-east at between four degrees and 12 degrees. The strike of the coal measures swings from north to north-west in the northern portion of the lease. Seven coal seams present, but only the Aquila, Corvus and German Creek seams are worked. The Oaky Creek number one and Oaky Creek North undergrounds work only the German Creek seam.
OCC produces two premium quality medium volatile coking coals, differentiated on coking properties. The difference between the two products is attributed to changes in the coal seam within the OCC mine lease. Coal is transported 297km by rail to Dalrymple Bay, and 394km to Gladstone for export.
Operating. Xstrata planned to expand production capacity at the OCC operation. The expansion was planned to include installation of a new longwall mining system and associated development suite, electrical system upgrade and expansion of the existing coal preparation plant. The remaining mine life for OCC is about 32 years.