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The Mount Pleasant coal deposit is located in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, Australia. Owned and operated by MACH Energy, the mine is expected to produce clean energy coal for supply to power plants worldwide.
The project will be developed as an open-cut mine, with first coal production expected to begin in 2018.
It is expected to employ more than 200 employees and contractors during operation.
Location of Mount Pleasant coal deposit
The Mount Pleasant coal deposit is located 4km away from Muswellbrook town in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales and adjacent to the Bengalla mine resource.
Covering 3,800ha, it is part of the Hunter Coalfield of the Sydney basin.
Geology and mineralisation
Coal deposits at the Mount Pleasant mine are of the late-Permian age and part of the Wittingham Coal Measures, which contain the majority of the coal reserves in the Hunter Valley. The main coal deposits are hosted in the Vane and Jerrys Plains subgroups of the Wittingham Coal Measures.
The lower part of the Jerrys Plains subgroup is 300m-thick and holds the Bowfield, Warkworth, Mount Arthur, Piercefield, Vaux, Broonie and Bayswater seams. The Vane subgroup lies beneath the Jerrys Plains subgroup and is 150m-thick.
The rock types found at these coal seams comprise sandstone, siltstone and coarse-grained sedimentary rock, which occur with subordinate coal and tuffaceous claystone.
Mount Pleasant mine reserves
The Mount Pleasant deposit is estimated to hold 1,423 million tonnes (Mt) of thermal coal and marketable reserves of 474Mt.
Mining at Mount Pleasant mine
Coal will be extracted using open-cut mining method from eight seams of the Wittingham Coal Measures including Warkworth upper seam, Mount Arthur, Piercefield, Vaux, Broonie, Bayswater, Wynn and Edderton.
Mining will be initially focused on the north-western (North pit) and southern (South pit) areas containing the upper and middle seams. Mining activities will commence at a small pit in the Warkworth seam located next to the coal preparation facilities until the permanent mine infrastructure is built.
The overlying rock will be fragmented using blasting method and excavated using a dragline consisting of electric shovels, hydraulic excavators, and front-end loaders. Coal will be transferred and washed at a portable modular plant until the main washery is constructed.
After the completion of coal handling and preparation facilities, mining will simultaneously commence at the South pit and the Piercefield pit.
Coal processing at Mount Pleasant
Run-of-mine (ROM) coal will be transferred to the coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP) through a hopper. A combination of density separation and fines flocculation process will be used to process the ROM coal.
Coarse reject attained from the washing process will be moved to emplacements, while fine rejects will be moved out and transported to the fines emplacement area located west of the site. Refined coal will be stockpiled in the infrastructure area and carried to the rail loop.
Infrastructure facilities at Mount Pleasant mining site
A rail loading facility with a rail loop extending from Muswellbrook to Ulan Rail line is planned to be constructed. The rail loop will be capable of handling two 9,000t capacity trains.
The mine will receive water from mine pit inflows and make-up water from the Hunter River, which will be predominantly used in the CHPP for suppression of dust and other ancillary uses.
Other infrastructure at the mine will include a maintenance workshop, coal stockpiles area and an administration building.
Thiess awarded a mining contract to carry out complete mining operations at Mount Pleasant until 2021. The scope of the contract also includes mine planning and engineering.
Calibre DRA, a joint venture of G&S Engineering Services and DRA Pacific, was awarded a $149m contract to design and construct the CHPP and the train loadout (TLO) facility.
Whittens was awarded a $22m contract by G&S Engineering Services to perform bulk earthworks at the plant site and construction of roads. The contractual scope further includes construction of a reclaim tunnel, transfer pads and a sizing station.
Hardy Bros have been awarded a $44m contract to undertake and commission detailed earthworks for the project.
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