This year has marked the beginning of a new era for Glencore’s Newlands Open Cut operation. In 1981, development at Newlands began with the mine being officially opened in December. Now, 42 years later, the mine is moving into closure.
It was a historic moment in late January, with Newlands extracting the last bucket of coal from their Wollombi pit. Then, at the end of April, the Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) officially processed the last mined coal. Concluding at the end of May, with the last train being railed. Newlands has shipped over 228 million tonnes through Abbot Point terminal.
Coal mining operations commenced in 1983 in the Newlands Main Deposit as an open cut mine. Open cut mining was then extended to more pits over the next decade, followed by underground mining commencing in 1998. In the mid-90s to 2016, Newlands was known as the “Coal Factory” with two underground mines and many open cut pits operating during that time.
Throughout its years of operation, Newlands’ achievements were numerous. They received awards and accolades relating to education, community, engineering and safety, always setting new benchmarks for their operations.
They’ve also been committed to making positive contributions to their local communities, supporting programs in areas such as education, childcare, health, sport and cultural activities. They are proud of their important community partnerships, with organisations such as RACQ Rescue, Weetalaba Campdraft, Movember and Glenden Rodeo to name a few.
During the life of the mine, Newlands acquired and operated two massive draglines. A Bucyrus-Erie BE1370, fondly known as “Big Pedro”, arrived at site in 1982 and in the early 2000s a Marion 8750 known as “The Mighty Samson” arrived, both draglines working together to remove overburden and uncover saleable coal. Now the pair have one last duty to undertake, assisting in the rehabilitation of the mine.
Progressive rehabilitation has always been an integral part of Newlands mining process – producing safe, stable and non-polluting landforms, and the ongoing monitoring of this progressive work.
In 2017 they were the first coal mine in Queensland to be certified for rehabilitation. A huge achievement that was followed up by further rehabilitation certification in 2021.
These high standards have been the norm for Newlands since it began operations, and no doubt will continue to set new benchmarks for mine closure in Queensland.
Once rehabilitation is complete the land will be handed over to the private landowners and their sister company, Colinta Pastoral Company. From coal to cattle over the next few decades.
The success of Newlands could not have been possible without its people. Glencore credits all the crews who worked tirelessly over the years and every person should be incredibly proud of their contribution to this first-class operation.
It’s a big thing to be the first to reach a monumental point in the large-scale Queensland mining story and history, and we here @The Coalface are very happy to see the next phase of works to occur at Newlands.