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We are a leading metallurgical coal producer and supplier of thermal coal for domestic power generation. We operate the Curragh coal mine near Blackwater in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. 

We operate the Curragh coal mine near Blackwater in Queensland’s Bowen Basin and have a 40 per cent interest in the Bengalla mine in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.  We employ 517 people including 476 at the Curragh mine. Total coal production for Curragh was 12.25 million tonnes and we exported our product to Asia, Europe and South America. Our revenue this year was $1,374 million. Click here to read about Wesfarmers’ position on investing in coal assets.

Material Issues

  • Safety
  • Health & wellbeing
  • Governance
  • Emissions
  • Water extraction
  • Bio-diversity
  • Climate change and energy efficiency
  • Community support

Targeting safety issues

The safety and wellbeing of our employees and those who work at our sites is our priority. We continue to review and benchmark our safety practices against leading practice within our industry. We continue to look for new and innovative ways to improve our safety performance.

For example, this year, with fatigue-related incidents continuing to take lives on Central Queensland roads, Curragh worked with government and police to reduce fatigue-related vehicle accidents.

 

 

Safety performance

4.2

total recordable injury frequency rate
2015   4.2
2014   5.0
2013   14.8
2012   18.8
2011   29.2

 

Reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions

Coal mining creates greenhouse gas emissions both through fugitive emissions, which escape from the ground during the mining process, and through energy used in the mining process, with large mobile diesel and electrically driven mining equipment and stationary processing plants. 

This year, our total emissions and emissions intensity increased, largely driven by increased fugitive emissions because of the nature of the particular coals seams mined and the use of a higher order methodology to more accurately calculate fugitive emissions.  

While we are not able to reduce these emissions directly, Curragh is investigating ways to reduce energy use on-site, which contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  For example, to reduce energy use, this year we have changed the fleet of mobile lighting used at Curragh.

Energy use

5.1

petajoules
2015   5.1
2014   4.6
2013   3.8
2012   4.1
2011   4.0
1Bank cubic metres measure volume of material moved in mining operations

Greenhouse gas emissions

663

tonnes CO2e: '000
2015   663
2014   569
2013   621
2012   644
2011   649
1Bank cubic metres measure volume of material moved in mining operations

 

Supporting river health in Central Queensland

Curragh draws water from and discharges water into the Mackenzie River, which is part of the Fitzroy River Basin. Curragh takes its water management practices very seriously. The Fitzroy River Basin is the largest catchment on the eastern seaboard, covering more than a third of the land that catches water and drains to the Great Barrier Reef. Around 120,000 people live in the basin, with most living in the urban centre of Rockhampton.

To ensure that we are making a meaningful contribution to the health of this important river system, Curragh has been a member of the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health since 2012. The partnership aims to provide a more complete picture on river health and uses the best available science to assess waterway or aquatic ecosystem health for the Fitzroy Basin, as well as reporting on the condition of the marine environment.

As a partner in the program Curragh provides water quality, sediment and macroinvertebrate data from several locations along the Blackwater Creek and Mackenzie River as part of its ongoing water monitoring program.

A copy of the 2013/14 River Health Report Card reporting area overviews, detailed datasets, additional information, river stewardship and grading information is available here.

Water use

7,086

Megalitres
2015   7,086
2014   8,148
2013   7,920
2012   2,742
2011   2,707

Protecting biodiversity

Protecting biodiversity is a material issue as Curragh must carefully manage the ecosystems to protect flora and fauna on-site while meeting its environmental approval conditions. As part of this management process, an offset area has been established at Mt Flora to compensate for the loss of 220 hectares of Brigalow ecological community associated with the approval of mining development at Curragh.

Mt Flora is located near Nebo, Central Queensland and the offset area is approximately 827 hectares and contains 543 hectares of Brigalow ecological community.

 

In March 2015, the Department of Natural Resources and Mining certified a Voluntary Declaration on Mt Flora, which is a voluntary mechanism to protect areas of native vegetation not otherwise protected by the Vegetation Management Act 1991. It puts in place binding management, monitoring and reporting requirements on the current and future landholders.

Curragh is working with the landholder to implement a series of management controls covering weeds, feral animals, erosion, fire management and rehabilitation if and when required.

 

Rehabilitation after mining

Open cut coal mining is a disruptive activity to the local environment in which the mining occurs. In order to minimise the impact of mining Curragh undertakes progressive rehabilitation.

Under Curragh’s environmental licence it is required to rehabilitate land significantly disturbed by mining activities to a stable landform with a self-sustaining vegetation cover under a progressive rehabilitation program.

Since 2002, the Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation, University of Queensland (UQ) has been conducting an ongoing annual rehabilitation monitoring program at Curragh. This is a vital component of Curragh’s continual improvement process to understand the key aspects of the rehabilitated ecosystem, improve rehabilitation techniques and determine whether the resulting vegetation and faunal communities will be sustainable after mining ends.

By working with UQ, Curragh hopes to achieve a best practice post-mining rehabilitation approach.

Supporting local communities

As a residential mine which has been operating in the Blackwater area for more than 30 years, Curragh considers itself an integral and important part of the local community. Curragh provides ongoing support to local community organisations through its Community Contribution Program.

Community contributions

125,850

$
Direct
2015   120,431
2014   235,121
2013   240,000
2012   550,000
2011   830,000
Indirect
2015   5,419
2014   3,075
2013   6,000
2012   5,000
2011   40,000

In 2015 Curragh recognised the need to provide additional support to local communities when severe tropical cyclone Marcia struck the Central Queensland coastal towns of Yeppoon and Rockhampton on 20 February 2015. Curragh responded by providing support to those communities.

 

Community planning for Blackwater

The coal industry continues to face very difficult market conditions with coal prices at a six year low which has resulted in significant job losses in the permanent and contractor workforce at Curragh. Curragh has worked with its employees and union representatives in an effort to keep job losses to a minimum.

As a large employer in Blackwater, Curragh has commenced working with the Blackwater 2022 Community Reference Group (CRG) to better understand the impact the job losses and the general downturn in the industry are having on the local community.

 

The CRG has been established to implement the Blackwater 2022 Community Plan.

Through its participation in the CRG, Curragh hopes to be better placed to understand community issues and respond to them in a timely and practical way.

 

2015-16 priorities

In the coming year, Curragh will review its Safety Health Management System along with the Safety Interactions, Safe Behaviours procedures.

The divisional diversity priorities will focus on the Women in Resources program and continuation of the 'Oothungs' (Sisters) in Mining program.

The focus for environment will be on continuing the research work into rehabilitation responses to fire and implications for long term resilience. Curragh will continue waste recycling and awareness initiatives to further reduce waste to landfill. As part of its overall water management plan and cost reduction initiatives Curragh will look to further reduce raw water use.

Youth education and employment programs, through partnering with local schools, will be further explored in the coming year.

Curragh will continue to engage with the Blackwater 2022 Community Reference Group and other community organisations to identify issues and opportunities for Curragh to provide assistance.

Curragh will continue to identify and implement energy efficiency projects to reduce costs associated with electricity and diesel use, with the aim of reducing scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

GRI Reference: G4-DMA, G4-12, G4-EN11