The Curragh Mine is one of the world’s biggest metallurgical coal mines. The open-cut mine near the town of Blackwater and produces about 8.5 million tonnes a year of metallurgical coal for export and 3.5 million tonnes of thermal coal, which is sold in Queensland for power production.
To access the coal reserves on the eastern boundary of the Curragh Mine, Wesfarmers had to permanently divert Blackwater Creek and re-establish the ecological corridor.
WSP completed the preliminary and detailed designs, geotechnical investigations, environmental studies and approvals, and the construction surveillance and certification. The licence application addressed geomorphologic, geotechnical, hydraulic, and ecological requirements.
The project involved the following key elements:
- Approximately 10 km creek diversion
- A levee of 6 km
- A catchment area of approximately 1,000 km2
- Protection of the mining operations from a Q1,000 flood event
- Excavation and removal of approximately 13.3 million m3 of earth
- Revegetation of the corridor, including a rehabilitation management program
Despite the technically challenging and ambitious nature of the diversion, we completed the project well within the design and construction timeline and budget. This meant Wesfarmers Resources got approval for the creek flow to be diverted and mining could commence beneath the existing creek footprint.