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Australian Coal Mining. Ryan Mercurio. Importance of Coal in Australia. Every Australian state mines coal. Coal provides 85% of Australia’s power. Australia is the world’s leading coal exporter. Coal Exports. 75% of Australia’s coal is exported to different countries.

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Australian coal mining

Australian Coal Mining

Ryan Mercurio

Importance of coal in australia
Importance of Coal in Australia

Every Australian state mines coal.

Coal provides 85% of Australia’s power.

Australia is the world’s leading coal exporter.

Coal exports
Coal Exports

75% of Australia’s coal is exported to different countries.

Nearly 40% of that is exported to Japan.

Other large importers of Australian coal include South Korea, Taiwan, China, and India.

Australia annually exports about 200 million metric tons of coal.

Australia’s top three exports are all mining related (coal, iron ore, and gold).

Almost 25% of Australia’s export earnings come from coal.

Coal earns Australia 50 billion dollars every year.

Australian mine disasters
Australian Mine Disasters

The largest mine disaster in Australia happened in 1902 when 96 people died in an explosion in Mount Kembla, New South Wales.

There have been two other mine explosions in Australia.

The most recent accident happened on November 26, when twenty-nine miners were declared dead after being trapped underground for five days.

Mining pollution
Mining Pollution

Burning coal releases carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change, sea level rise, and global warming.

The burning of coal in Australia accounts for 42% of their greenhouse gas emissions.

Kinds of coal
Kinds of Coal

Brown Coal

Black Coal

Lower quality due to a high water and ash composition

Brown coal is mined in Victoria and South Australia.

Brown coal is usually mined in open cut mines.

High quality due to a low water and ash composition

Black coal is mined in Queensland and New South Wales.

Black coal is usually mined in underground mines.

Coal miners
Coal Miners

Most coal miners are paid about 25$ per hour for their services.

95% of coal miners work in Queensland or New South Wales.

About 30,000 Australians work in coal mines.

This number has been going down due to a significant decrease in underground mining.

The number of open pit miners is continually on the rise, however.

Underground coal mining
Underground Coal Mining

Room And Pillar


Panels (rooms) are cut into the coal seam, and leave pillars to support the mine.

This isn’t as efficient as longwall mining, as 50-60% of the coal is left in the pillars.

Mechanical shears 100-250 meters long cut and remove coal at the face.

Hydraulic powered supports temporarily support the roof while coal is extracted.

Over 75% of coal in an area can be harvested this way.

Open cut mining
Open Cut Mining

Open Cut Mining is only efficient when the coal seam is close to the surface.

Open cut mining recovers a higher portion of coal than underground mining.

Draglines remove the land between the coal seam and the surface. Coal is then dug out with power shovels.

This method is costly because surface mining equipment is very large and growing.