The Airly colliery is about 45km north-west of Lithgow in the western coal fields of New South Wales. Production from the mine began in December 2010, with sufficient reserves, of about 120 million tonnes, to support mining for more than 20 years.
Mining methods include a combination of place changing, super panel, super place changing and partial extraction continuous miner techniques. Coal is transported via a rail system to the Port Kembla coal-loader.
Production ramp up at Airly continued during the June 2010 quarter, with the mine advancing from the development of surface access portals to life-of-mine roadways. The mine's first shuttle cars were delivered in June, completing the first full production unit. The first trainload of Airly coal was railed to Port Kembla for export on April 22, 2011. Commissioning of the surface conveyors and the coal handling system has been substantially completed and the principal contractors were demobilised in late June 2011.
Airly produced 66,500 tonnes of run-of-mine coal product for the September 2010 quarter, which was an increase of 75 per cent on the previous quarter, as the mine continued to ramp-up production. Airly has generally experienced good mining conditions to date, although some minor faulting and equipment delays have impacted the speed of ramp-up.
Operating. The mine had produced 142,000t of coal to September 30, 2010.