The Loy Yang mine is in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, and is an open-pit operation producing brown coal. Covering 800 hectares, Loy Yang produces more than 30 million tonnes per annum, and has reserves of 168 billion tonnes, making it the Southern Hemisphere's largest coal producing mine.
The mine depth and coal seam thickness are 180 metres, with overburden thickness between 5m and 24m. The coal seams are between 15 and 30 million years old and have a low ash content of about two per cent. Although relatively soft with high moisture content, brown coal is Victoria's most accessible and cost efficient fuel for electricity generation. Loy Yang coal also has an environmental advantage due to its very low sulphur trace element and ash content.
At the current mining rate, the Loy Yang mine will have a life of about 40 years.
Large, electric bucketwheel dredgers, about 50m high and 190m long, are used to excavate the open-pit mine. The dredgers can dig up to 4000t per hour, or more than one tonne per second.
The coal is transported by conveyor to a 70,000t capacity raw coalbunker. The mine fuels Loy Yang Power's own 2100MW power station and the 1000MW international Power's Loy Yang B power station.
Travelling stackers are used on the overburden dump to remove overburden from the conveyors and spread it, ready for land rehabilitation. The coal dredgers have an output of up to 4000t of coal per hour, and up to 2500 cubic metres of overburden per hour.
Operating. When mining operations began at Loy Yang in 1982, operations occurred in an area referred to as block one, with a northerly development. The current operation began in 1992 and is referred to as block two, with an easterly development. Loy Yang Power expected to be mining in the block three area, in a southerly direction, by 2027.