West Cliff Colliery
1967- November, Kembla Coal & Coke Pty Ltd forms a Development Group at the Coal Cliff Mine.
1972 – Receipt of Notice of Commencement 8th June 1972 (DoMAR 1972)
1974 – The Development Group is established as a separate company, Coal Development Services Pty Ltd, the first major project being the formation of the Darkes Forest Mine in part of Coal Cliff Colliery’s holding by providing a man winding facility on an existing ventilation shaft, together with an administrative and bathhouse complex.
1974 – A decision was made to establish the West Cliff project with a target date of late 1976.
1975 Wollongong Symposium
Lease granted to Coal Cliff Collieries Pty Ltd (a subsidiary of Kembla Coal & Coke) in 1969 – 140 x 10^6 tonnes recoverable Bulli coal.
22 DDHs, 46 km seismic and magnetometer surveys
#1 Shaft:- exploratory/ventilation commenced 1972. 6.10 m dia. Concrete lined (150mm)
462 m to Bulli seam plus 45 m sump.
11,000 t bulk sample – high coking coal content.
June 1974, company decides to establish West Cliff Colliery. Proposed 2 x 10^6 t/y for 35 yrs. Export market.
Mine Plan:- Wongawilli method of bord & pillar.
Surface at 2 sites 1.6 km apart;
Northern site – coal handling & washery
Southern site – M&M drift intersecting seam adjacent to #1 shaft (bulk winder at northern site)
#2 ventilation shaft adjacent to #1
Bathroom – 800 men, baskets
W/shop & store
Car Park – 320 cars
Mine Supplies Racks – timber, rails, c/v structure, lubricants
M&M Drift Haulage Winder;
Radio controlled. Drum 3.41 m dia. 2 x 671 kW motors
Rated at 45 t at 5.1 m/sec or 65t at 3.2 m/sec
Intake. Circular section 5.08 m dia
1642 m including 1:3 for 1542 m
Rockbolts, mesh and gunite
1.06 m gge rail track.
#1 Shaft. Bulk coal winder
1600 t u/g storage bin
Balanced friction winder max. cap. 762 t/h w/- 2 x 16 t skips
Belt c/v in steel tubes from surface bin to breaker house, trash screens, sizing screens, raw coal storage bin, washery.
Belts 1000 t/h rom, 600 t/h coking coal and 250 t/h reject.
Breaker House – 127 mm coal
Sizing screens – 127 x 12.7 mm; 12.7 x 0 mm
Storage Bins – 2,000 t
C/Coal bins 8,000 t
Reject bin 1,000 t
Coal Preparation Plant:-
508 t/h feed
127 x 12.7 mm to McNally Jig
12.7 x 0.5 mm Cyclone (DSM 4 x 600 mm)
<0.5 mm Froth flotation
#1 Shaft – U/C 2 x 3.15 m dia. Richardson Centrifugal fans, variable inlet vanes, Max cap 18,400 m^3 at 200 mm wg.
#2 Shaft – D/C 6.10 m dia. 488 m plus drift
Dam on Brennon’s Creek (320 ML cap)
Incoming 33 kV to 25 MVA substation to u/g @ 11 kV. Operations at 1,000 V
2 x sets of 6 hdgs westerly for ¾ mile. 4units advancing westwards simultaneously. 5th unit to south.
Propose to use 12CM Joy and HH106 Lee Norse CMs, Noyes Hydrocars and Joy 10sc-22 SCs
Rubber tyred diesel equipment to be followed by railtrack installation
Pillar extraction to be utilised
1974 – Decision made by KCC to establish West Cliff Colliery. (“Planning & Development of West Cliff Colliery” a paper delivered at the Colliery Managers’ Association NSW Symposium at Terrigal, July 1978 by B. Robinson and D. Smith).
1976 – October, West Cliff commences coal production.
1978 – Manager, West Cliff Colliery is Mr D. Smith. Manager, Development, Kembla Coal & Coke Pty Ltd is Mr. B. Robinson.
1978 – Managers Symposium - Planning was for an underground operation producing 2 million tonnes of ROM coal per annum – commitments dictated the mine commencing in the latter half of 1976. (Production actually commenced in October, 1976.)
Basic geological information was from two (2) Mines Department bore holes sunk between 1962 and 1966, proving the existence of the Bulli seam and an indication of coal qualities.
Between 1970 and 1972 magnetometer and seismic investigations were carried out in conjunction with a drilling programme.
Eleven (11) fully cored bore holes were drilled to the Bulli seam with eight (8) extending to the Wongawilli seam. Seam gas was sampled from five (5) of the bore holes.
Initial analysis in 1971 showed proposed costs estimated at $26M. Approaching completion in 1978 these estimates had risen to $56M, the escalation being mainly due to inflation and changes to mining choices.
Two separate surface sites were chosen approximately 1.5 km apart, the northern site designated as the production and coal handling site with the southern area as the services site.
A 320 ML storage dam was constructed some 2 km downstream on the Brennan’s Creek.
The originally design was based on a single shaft for coal haulage and upcast ventilation with a cross measures drift or M&M and down cast ventilation. The drift was driven at 1 in 3 by a full face tunnelling machine, never before attempted in Australia.
Problems occurred during the tunnelling phase jeopardising cash flow based on production income so it was resolved to sink a second shaft for interim M&M access.
The 1 in 3 drift was driven using a Caldwell Full Face Borer previously used in the Eastern Suburbs Railway project. Driveage rates were well short of planned, failure of the main head bearing, difficulty in maintaining grade and line, difficulty in using a belt conveyor at the 1:3 grade and other hydraulic and some geological problems delayed the holing of the drift until December 1976.
In February 1975, a decision was made to sink a second 6.1m diameter shaft (No. 2) some 200 metres to the north of the No. 1 Upcast Shaft. Sinking commenced in May, 1975, holing its prepared inset in May, 1976. The sinking winder was converted to M&M use, including a 40 man cage.
Methane gas released from coal stored in the 8,000 tonnes product bins was found to accumulate, under certain conditions, in the gantry top housings. Increased provision for natural ventilation was necessary to adequately solve the problem.
No provision for onsite stockpiling had been allowed for so the down turn in the overseas market created a necessity to establish 2 x ~500,000 tonnes stockpiles with a third planned for the future. (“Planning & Development of West Cliff Colliery” a paper delivered at the Colliery Managers’ Association NSW Symposium at Terrigal, July 1978 by B. Robinson and D. Smith).
1979 – Joy 12CM miners in use (Mine & Quarry Mechanisation 1979)
1979 – A 1200KW incline hoist is commissioned in the 1642m, 1:4 M&M drift. (DoMAR 1979)
1981 – Acker “Big John” long hole drill rig commissioned at West Cliff to drill 600m in-seam holes. (Mine & Quarry Mechanisation, 1981.)
1981 – Methane drainage drilling well advanced (DoMAR 1981)
1982 – Preparations for first longwall. (DoMAR 1982)
1982 – First longwall commences in August
1982 – West Cliff No. 3 and No. 4 shafts commenced (DoMAR 1982)
1987 – The Kemcol Beaver Mk1 demonstrates its capacity to cut coal at the same time as roof bolting.
1988 – First new CM purchased by KCC in 12 years ordered for West Cliff. A Joy12CM20 is to be constructed at Joy, Moss Vale, to be delivered Dec 1988.
1989 – Decision to extend the longwall face to 200m with new IFS supports offering better support under the mudstone roof.
1992 – Three purpose built Longyear LMC55 methane drainage drill rigs for West Cliff and Tahmoor mines, are to be delivered July 1992. (KCC Conveyor Vol7 #2 Mar/May 1992)
1993 – Mike Ogilvie is appointed Mining Manager, John Pala, Manager of Mining Production, West Cliff. (KCC Conveyor, Vol 8 #3, June/July 1993)
1997 – Purchased by BHP on 28/03/1997. West Cliff produces mainly prime quality coking coal that has low levels of sulphur and alkalies.
The purchase will allow a more cost effective access to certain coal reserves within the Appin lease.
By washing Appin coal at West Cliff costs were reduced by the reduction of transporting some 300,000 tonnes less material by road to Pt Kembla. (BHP Collieries Division - Coal News No. 130 April 1997).
2008 – Snapshot – Bulli Seam 2.4-3.2 m, 480-550 m depth of cover. Production: 3,026,200t. Longwall dimensions: Face 300m, length to 3500m. Joy 4LS-5 DERDS shearer; M/G drum 1.85m; T/G drum 1.85m dia. 870kW. Face support : 170 x Joy 2-leg shields. Face conveyor: Joy 1.4m/s, KPB.
Development: 1 x Sandvik ABM20, 2 x Joy 12CM30 continuous miners. 2 x Joy 15SC32, 2 X 10SC32 shuttle cars (ex Coal Services Pty Ltd, 2009)