Coal is a combustible rock made mainly of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Coal is formed when accumulated plant material is buried, decays and is exposed to heat and pressure over millions of years. Layers of coal are interspersed with other sedimentary material, like shale and sandstone, to form coal beds or seams which range in size from less than one millimetre to several metres thick. There are two main types of coal: black and brown.
Black coal contains less moisture, giving it a higher energy value than brown coal. Black coal also emits fewer greenhouse gases than brown coal. Brown coal (also known as lignite) is relatively soft, with a lower carbon content and higher moisture content than black coal. New South Wales Hunter Valley coal is black coal.
The black coal mined in NSW plays a fundamental role in providing energy for our everyday lives here at home. In fact, 84% of NSW electricity comes from coal fired power stations that are supplied by NSW coal.
Black coal used to generate electricity is called thermal coal, energy coal or steaming coal, and most of this coal is mined in the Hunter Valley. Some goes straight to nearby power stations, like the Bayswater, Eraring and Liddell power stations, to power homes across NSW. However, most of our thermal coal is exported, mainly to Asian countries. It provides an important energy source for emerging economies and export revenue for our national economy.
We know that coal fired power stations emit greenhouse gases. While we support the growth of renewable energy technologies as part of the global energy mix, the International Energy Agency confirms that coal will be the world’s primary energy source for many years to come.
Dartbrook coal from the Hunter Valley is suited to premium markets such as Japan and Korea.
We have the opportunity to rapidly reach the Dartbrook mine's proposed production volumes by optimising bypass coal to produce a high quality, low ash, thermal coal.