Bengalla: High quality coal producer

Image source: New Hope Group.
Image source: New Hope Group.

Located around 4km southwest of Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley region of NSW, the Bengalla coal mine plays a significant role in supplying thermal coal to domestic and international markets.

The mine is operated by the Bengalla Mining Company (BMC), which is a joint venture between New Hope Group (80%) and Taipower (20%).


Bengalla is a single pit open cut, multi-seam mine with product extracted using dragline, truck and excavator methods, with employees working in shifts to keep the mine operating 24hrs a day, seven days a week. In 1996, Bengalla received an initial 21-year development consent which was renewed in March 2015 and extended mining through to 2039.

Once the coal is extracted, it is processed at the Bengalla Coal Handling Preparation Plant to produce a range of thermal coal products to meet customer specifications. Bengalla’s coal products are predominantly gCNEWC benchmark.

Coal products destined for export are loaded onto trains and transported to the Port of Newcastle for shipment. Domestic coal is transported to energy generator customers via rail.

Due to periods of disruptive weather in the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023, production of saleable coal at Bengalla in FY23 totalled 9mt, down 3% compared to FY22. During the year, a third haulage corridor, expected to improve mine haulage productivity by 7.5%, was constructed.

As Bengalla emits over 100kt of scope one emissions per year, the mine is subject to the Safeguard Mechanism under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 which requires emissions from operations to be kept below applicable baseline limits.

Bengalla’s greenhouse gas emissions have been below the baseline limit for each year it has been covered by this mechanism. In FY22, Bengalla’s scope one emissions were 725,774t CO2-e (carbon-dioxide equivalent).

As there is no tailings dam at Bengalla, the fine reject material is treated, dewatered, and placed in reject cells within the overburden emplacement area in a controlled manner.

Since 2005, 308ha of land has been rehabilitated at Bengalla with efforts focusing on restoring the land to a combination of pastoral grassland and high-density woody vegetate land.

Image source: New Hope Group.
Image source: New Hope Group.

Bengalla Growth Project

Beginning in 2022, the $200m Bengalla growth project will see an increase in production capacity as well as an uplift in the quality of product. The main production objectives are scheduled to be achieved by mid-2024.

The expansion is divided into three parts — mining, coal handling preparation plant (CHPP) and infrastructure.


In the mining expansion, a further 18 machines, which includes six new Hitachi EH5000 trucks and a Liebherr R9800 excavator, will be purchased. Additional equipment such as a Cat MD6250 drill, a couple of dozers, a grader and a watercart will be delivered by mid 2024. This equipment will enable Bengalla to increase delivery of run-of-mine (ROM) coal from 12.5mtpa to 13.4mtpa.

Coal Handling Preparation Plant

To deal with the extra ROM tonnes, the CHPP is getting an upgrade to increase throughput and product quality.

The spirals and tailings circuit will be upgraded, resulting in plant input increasing from 11mtpa to 12.9mtpa. This upgrade will deliver an improved average quality of products to align with the market demand for high-quality coal.

A new processing building is being constructed on the northern end of the plant which will house a further four belt press filters.

In the future, upgrades to the raw coal reclaim circuit will be introduced to keep up with the upgraded plant.


The increase in output requires more people onsite for the construction and continuing operations, as well as a reconfiguration of the infrastructure area as the pit shell progresses through the existing facilities.

To cope with the staff increase and pit progression, further carpark spaces, administration and bathhouse buildings, plus maintenance and warehousing facilities will be built.