Drayton South Open-Cut Coal Mine

Better productivity for less

Anglo American Metallurgical Coal | Australia | 2009–2014

5.95 Mtpa ROM;

4.7 Mtpa Hunter Valley thermal coal product

17 km

haul road and a light vehicle road

25 m

span bridge suitable for multiple loaded mine-haul trucks

New 66kV HV

power supply and site reticulation


  • Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business unit wanted to triple its metallurgical production by 2020, while pursuing thermal markets for exporting its New South Wales Hunter Valley assets.
  • The replacement mine was to be integrated with the existing brownfield operations and infrastructure, with limited access through existing mine operations.
  • There were tight environmental and community requirements due to the site's proximity to other industries and agricultural enterprises.


  • Concept, prefeasibility, and feasibility studies and a detailed engineering and execution plan were developed. Engineering of the surface infrastructure and coal-handling plant were included.
  • The design was revised to delete the raw coal stockpile. Two reclaimers were able to be upgraded, saving the A$20 million cost of constructing a new, third reclaimer.
  • Re-engineering, consolidation of size, and better local and overseas sourcing of HDPE pipes for the water reticulation system resulted in CAPEX savings of approximately $A14 million.
  • Water balance modeling determined that instead of a new dam, a series of low-cost retention ponds could be constructed as the mine developed, saving A$4 million.


  • The Drayton South feasibility study received one of Anglo’s best Independent Project Analysis (IPA) review scores; FEL Index and rating of 4.75 “Best Practical."
  • A previous recommendation to increase capacity by increasing the belt width on load-out conveyors was challenged. Instead, load-out was improved by increasing speed, enabling existing belts and structures to be retained and saving A$10 million.
  • Access to the site was restricted to a single entry point through the existing operating mine. We adapted additional remote access gates for use during construction, a productivity improvement that saved between A$5 million and A$8 million.
  • A rolled steel arch was chosen as a bridge solution that was suitable for the limited life expectation required, saving A$5 million.

“The Hatch team provided the needed expertise and experience for a project of this nature and demonstrated the flexibility required to adjust in an environment of significant regulatory approval uncertainty in New South Wales.”

Rick Fairhurst | Project Manager for New South Wales, Anglo American Metallurgic Coal

Project numbers

5km public road relocation
New 66kV HV power supply and site reticulation
A$500 million estimated capital cost
500 jobs maintained with transition to replacement mine

Services & technologies provided



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