Coal is a hard dark rock that that can be burned as a solid fossil fuel. Though they don’t particularly look magnificent and are rather lousy-looking, these rocks are very significant for generating electricity, manufacturing cement, production of steel and many more. In steel-making, one particular coal is in high demand, the coking coal. Luckily for Australia, we have the largest local coal reserves in the world, the Kestrel Coal Mine.
Kestrel coal is mined within the Bowen Basin in Queensland, Australia. The said reserve has about 158 million tonnes of coking coal spanning 600km in length and 250km wide. The mine is a major provider of coking and thermal coal with approximately 4.3 million tonnes mined annually.
Before the coal mine got its current name, the coal reserve was formerly called Gordonstone mine. It is operated by Kestrel Joint Venture comprising Kestrel Coal Resources and a subsidiary of Mitsui Group. You can check their website at https://kestrelcoal.com/ to know more about the sites ownership.
The whole coal reserve is not the same in term of rank and quality. Though they are similarly coals, their quality varies on the different zones they are bedded.
Along the north-eastern side of Bowen Basin, the coal ranges from anthracite to low-volatile bituminous. The central section, however, has medium to high-volatile bituminous coal as well as high-grade coking coal. The south-west zone has Kestrel coals that ranks below coking range to a loss of coking properties.
What is Coking Coal
Coking coal or metallurgical coal is a kind of coal used to produce high-quality coke. Coke is a fuel primary used in steel-making. This is a fuel and reactant for blast furnace, an essential tool for creating steel.
Coking coal is heated from 1000-11000ºC in the absence of air or specifically oxygen. The coal the melts into plastic state which later on swells. Then, swelled melted coal solidifies turning into coke.
Coals mined from Bowen Basin are high-quality hard coking coals that are perfect for exportation.
The mine has about 375 dedicated miners. These miners work on shifting hours to continually operate seven days in a week.
All sites require safety roof protection for miners. They work underground which is a terrifying and risky place to work. Sudden strong quakes or estimation error could lead to loss of resources and loss of the miners’ lives.
To ensure the success of every mining operation and as well as the safety of the hardworking miners, the mines made sure to use longwalls and excellent mining methods. Their efforts result in better resource-recovery rates, better roof protection for the miners, but requires less-roof support materials.
There is no other producer of Bowen Basin underground coal but Kestrel Coal Resources. Currently, the site mines 7-8 million tonnes of mostly hard coking coal and some amount of thermal coal. The mine’s life is an estimated 35 years.
If you want to learn more about kestrel mine, Bowen Basin coking coal, and their mining methods, visit their website at https://kestrelcoal.com/.