Update: 14 coal projects in NSW

The Adani’s worth of new coal projects in NSW

March 2019 edition: 14 new and expanding coal mine projects in New South Wales could produce more coal and greenhouse pollution than Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland. The 14 projects, half of them wholly new mines, are in sensitive areas like Hunter Valley farmland, Sydney and the Central Coast’s drinking water catchment and the productive Liverpool Plains. These are not the only coal projects in NSW, but they are all controversial.

Together, these new mining projects would produce up to 78.4 million tonnes of coal per year, and burning that coal would create nearly 190 million tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution, more than Australia’s entire electricity sector produced last year (170.5 million tonnes).

Already, the coal export industry is Australia’s largest contribution to climate change. Queensland mostly exports coking coal for steel-making, but in New South Wales, the coal export industry is primary thermal coal, burnt in the power stations of north Asia and south east Asia. Most of this coal is mined in the Hunter Valley. The Greater Hunter has four large coal-fired power station and hosts 30% of the state’s power generation but 90% of the coal mined in the Hunter is exported.

Annual greenhouse emissions from NSW coal exports, when burnt in overseas power stations, are approximately triple our annual domestic emissions. This gives New South Wales a global role to play in tackling climate change.[1]

The International Energy Agency has modelled global energy markets consistent with meeting the Paris Agreement while providing universal energy access and reducing death from air pollution. Its Sustainable Development Scenario would see global thermal coal consumption fall by 55% in the next two decades.[2]

A reduction of this scale will have a major impact on coal exports from NSW and therefore on coal mining regions. That’s why 9 out of 10 people surveyed by Lock the Gate in the major towns of the Hunter region want a plan for the future of the region beyond coal.

Project

Company

Location

Type

Coal (product Mtpa)

Status

CO2e per year

Watermark mine

Shenhua Energy

Breeza, Liverpool Plains

New mine

6.15

Approved

 

Vickery mine

Whitehaven

near Boggabri, Namoi region

New mine

7.5

Assessment - no recommendation yet

 

Bylong mine

KEPCO

near Bylong, far Upper Hunter

New mine

6

Assessment - recommended approval

 

Wallarah 2 mine

Korea Resources

Central Coast catchment

New mine

5

Approved

 

Mangoola Continuation*

Glencore

Wybong, far Upper Hunter

Expansion

10.5

Pre-EIS

 

United Wambo

Glencore/Peabody

Central Hunter

Reopening

7.3

Assessment - recommended approval

 

Hume Coal

POSCO

Southern Hghlands

New mine

3

 Assessment - recommended rejection

 

Dendrobium

South32

Sydney's water catchment

Expansion

3.3

 pre-EIS

 

Glendell expansion*

Glencore

near Singleton, Hunter Valley

Expansion

7.5

pre-EIS

 

Rixs Creek Extension

Rixs Creek coal

near Singleton, Hunter Valley

Expansion

3.6

 Assessment - recommended approval

 

Dartbrook

Australia Pacific Coal

near Aberdeen, Upper Hunter

Reopening

1.5

 Assessment – recommended approval

 

Russell Vale

Wollongong Coal

Sydney's water catchment

Expansion

3

Assessment - recommended approval

 

Maxwell

Malabar Coal

Jerrys Plains, Upper Hunter

New mine

7

 pre-EIS

 

Spur Hill*

Malabar Coal

Jerrys Plains, Upper Hunter

New mine

7

 Pre-EIS

 

Total

     

78.4

 

188

 

* Product coal tonnage for Spur Hill is estimated from the 8 mtpa ROM coal cited in preliminary environmental documents. Saleable coal rate from Glendell is estimated based on 10mtpa ROM coal cited in preliminary environment documents. Product coal tonnage from Mangoola is estimated based on last year’s reported saleable coal production, given the project is an extension of current operations beyond 2029. All information obtained from NSW Department of Planning and Environment Major Projects Register.

[1] Based on latest Coal Services NSW export volumes, emissions from NSW coal exports in 2017 are estimated at 393.12Mtpa CO2, compared with reported NSW emissions of 131.6 Mtpa

[2] IEA World Energy Outlook 2017. The 2018 World Energy Outlook also presents a Sustainable Development Scenario with an even greater decline for thermal coal by 2040.

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