Glencore’s Rolleston Open Cut coal mine is located in the southern part of Queensland’s Bowen Basin, approximately 16 kilometres west of the Rolleston Township and 140 kilometres southeast of Emerald. Infrastructure at Rolleston Open Cut includes:
- A Train loadout Facility,
- A Coal Handling Facility,
- Heavy and light vehicle workshops,
- Main Administration Area, and
- Two Accommodation Villages.
Due to its low ash content, none of the thermal coal extracted at Rolleston Open Cut requires washing. All coal passes through the Coal Handling Facility (CHF), for crushing and sizing prior to loading onto trains (via the Train Loadout Facility). All coal is sold either for export via Ports in Gladstone, or into the domestic market.
Brief History of the Operation
Rolleston Open Cut has been operational since 2005. In 2003, Glencore (then Xstrata) acquired Mt Isa Mines (MIM). At that time, Rolleston Open Cut was still in the planning stage.
In 2004 development was approved and construction commenced, with operations beginning in 2005.
In 2013 Xstrata was purchased by Glencore. Currently Glencore manages and operates the site and holds a 75% share in a joint venture with Sumisho Coal Australia (12.5%) and ICRA Rolleston (12.5%).
Expansion of Rolleston Open Cut
To extend the operational life of Rolleston Open Cut, ideally through until 2038, approval has been given to expand operations into the site’s adjacent leases, (a project area of 12,758ha). The actual area of land which will be impacted by mining activities is limited to 5,649ha in addition to the original mining areas on ML70307 & ML70418. The recently approved mining leases are ML70415, ML70416 and ML70458 (refer to map).
This expansion brings benefits to the local communities of Rolleston and Springsure, including the wider Central Highlands region and Queensland. Benefits include:
- continuation of existing employment and creation of additional employment,
- economic and social benefits through the generation of income, services and goods and funding support,
- greater community support through upskilling of local residents and training programs, e.g. apprenticeships
Within Glencore’s charter, Rolleston Open Cut is committed to delivering positive and long term social and economic benefits to its surrounding communities. Rolleston Open Cut has partnered with a range of organisations delivering services and initiatives in key areas of:
- Health, e.g. Rolleston’s Health Clinic,
- Environment, e.g. Minerva Hills National Park amenity project,
- Capacity building, such as education and training, enterprise development and economic diversity, e.g. Queensland Art Gallery, Emerald Agricultural College scholarships and prizes, and Capricorn Helicopter Rescue.
Rolleston Open Cut is also actively involved in a number of local community initiatives, which promote participation and open correspondence. Some of these include:
- the Rolleston Open Cut Community Fund,
- Community Reference Group meetings held several times each year, and
- Community Benefit Fund for local organisations and projects (administered by the Central Highlands Regional Council).
Over the last decade Rolleston Open Cut has demonstrated commitment to compliance with State and National environmental standards, including progressive rehabilitation of mined lands.
By the end of 2016, Rolleston Open Cut will have 672 hectares of rehabilitated land which was previously disturbed for mining activities. This is part of the business’ progressive effort towards eventual and successful mine closure and relinquishment.
The primary objective of Rolleston Open Cut’s land rehabilitation is the successful return of the majority of mined areas back to the pre-mining land use of livestock grazing.
Rolleston Open Cut is also committed to best practice environmental management under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (mandatory for successful mine closure relinquishment) including preservation of the region’s native ecosystems considered of National Environmental significance. A number of biodiversity areas are being managed in order to offset unavoidable mining activity related environmental impacts.
Through its operations, Rolleston Open Cut has created numerous economic benefits to the region. Examples include:
- Glencore apprenticeships for the local youth,
- Emerald Agricultural College Scholarships, and
- The creation of local employment and business for local businesses.