Longwall mining began at the Ravensworth underground mine, about 25 kilometres north-west of Singleton in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, in 2007. The mine is surrounded by a number of other mining operations including the Narama, Cumnock No.1, Liddell, Mt Owen and Ashton coal mines. The mine has b en developed to enable longwall extraction of a large semi-soft coking coal reserve. The soft coking coal can be blended with hard coking coal and used in steel production or for power generation.
The Pikes Gully seam is currently being mined, and averages about 2.3 metres in height. Access to the underground operation is via a drift located to the east of the Ravensworth coal handling preparation plant. The main components of the longwall mining system consist of a shearer, armoured face conveyor and hydraulic roof supports.
Coal is transported from the underground via the mine conveyor belt system, which consists of a series of conveyors that run from the top of the drift to the pit bottom, and operate at a rate of about 1200 tonnes per hour. Coal is stockpiled on the run-of-mine pad from where it is pushed into the reclaim feeders by a dozer. Three vibrating pan-type reclaim feeders are located in the reclaim tunnel. Raw coal can either be conveyed directly to the coal handling and preparation plant for washing, or to coal storage bins, from where it is then moved to the rail load‐out bin for loading onto trains. Xstrata Coal New South Wales has managed the Ravensworth underground mine since February 2008. The operation is a joint venture between Resource Pacific (owned by Xstrata Coal and Marubeni) and Korean steel manufacturer Posco.
Operating. In January 2009 a combined production increase of more than 300 million tonnes was reported from the combined Ravensworth underground and associated Mangoola and Tahmoor coal mines.
The mine produced about 3,260,660 tonnes of run-of-mine (ROM) coal during 2010, with total product coal produced being 2,243,907t. Current development consent allows the mine to produce 7Mtpa of ROM coal.