The Abel underground mine is about 25 kilometres from the port of Newcastle in Tasmania. The original mine plan for Abel was for the extraction of up to 4.5 million tonnes per annum of run-of-mine coal for a period of 21 years.
Abel is a bord and pillar operation, which uses continuous miners for first workings and secondary extraction. This two-stage process accommodates irregular shaped coal deposits, enables adjustment to extraction for better management of subsidence and maximizes the efficiency of the operation.
The portal comes off the high wall of the Donaldson open-pit mine. The mine uses existing surface infrastructure and the Bloomfield coal handling and preparation plant, rail loader and rail loop for coal processing and loading.
Following extraction, coal is transported via a conveyor through the high wall to the surface infrastructure area of the Donaldson open-pit mine. It is then transported to the Bloomfield plant, where it is processed and loaded for transport by rail to port.
The washed coal is transported by rail and exported through the port of Newcastle.
Abel had proven, probable reserves of 115 million tonnes and a measured, indicated and inferred resource of 515.3Mt of coal at July 1, 2009.
Operating. Plans have been made to increase the Abel and Tasman underground mine production capacities to between 4.5Mt and 5.0Mt by 2016.