Latrobe Valley coal mines
For much of the last 100 years the Latrobe Valley coal mines provided the adjoining power stations with the raw material to generate most of the state’s electricity. Victoria’s energy transition is now underway to move away from coal to use more renewable sources.
The Hazelwood Brown Coal Mine closed in 2017 after over 60 years of operation. Over the subsequent years, ENGIE, the owner and operator of the mine has begun works to decommission infrastructure and rehabilitate the site.
In 2021, Energy Australia announced that it will cease electricity production at Yallourn in 2028.
AGL has announced that the Loy Yang A power station will close in 2035. The Loy Yang mine feeds both the Loy Yang A and Loy Yang B Power Stations and is licenced to continue production to 2048.
Declared Mine Regulations
Regulations aiming to provide better oversight of Latrobe Valley coal mine rehabilitation have been enacted following public consultation.
The draft Declared Mine Amendment Regulations along with a Regulatory Impact Statement were published on Engage Victoria for public consultation from 20 July 2022 until 17 August 2022.
Subsequently the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019 have been amended in 2022. The amendment regulations commenced on 30 September 2022.
Works at Yallourn
Flooding in June 2021 led to the identification of damage to the Morwell River Diversion (MRD) channel at the Yallourn coal mine.
For more information, visit Yallourn Emergency Response and Recovery Project.
Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority investigation into hazelwood mine rehabilitation
The Earth Resources Regulator broadly accepts the findings and recommendations presented in an investigation report prepared by Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority (MLRA) in response to a referral made by the former Minister for Resources related to rehabilitation planning for the Hazelwood Mine.
In doing so, the regulator has noted the need for an adaptive approach in designing, constructing, and maintaining safe, stable, and sustainable rehabilitated landforms at the Hazelwood mine site as further investigations, monitoring and knowledge is developed over time.
The MLRA’s report also provides an important reference point for the Earth Resources Regulator, other agencies, and proponents with respect to informing future planning and regulatory decisions related to rehabilitation of the other declared mines in the Latrobe Valley.
Hazelwood mine pit and floodwater
Earth Resources Regulation is supporting the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, which is the lead agency for the MRD incident response.
Upstream of the MRD, works have provided the option to divert floodwaters into the Hazelwood mine void. This has been required over the 2022 winter period due to wet weather and flows of the Morwell River. This has helped reduce the risk to the MRD while works continue.
Rainfall, some groundwater and excessive flows from the Morwell River are now staying in the Hazelwood mine pit. This will help cover the exposed coal on the floor of the mine and reduce the fire risk over summer. These actions will have no bearing on the final rehabilitation outcome for the Hazelwood mine.
In August 2021, Earth Resources Regulation approved a variation to the Mining Licence for the Hazelwood Mine. The variation imposed conditions requiring ENGIE to:
- control the risks associated with receiving floodwaters from the Morwell River into the mine void, including capping groundwater bores in the mine floor,
- verifying the performance of new bores around the outside of the mine void,
- undertaking additional earthworks to protect the stability of the mine’s northern batters near the Princes Freeway, and
- prepare an adaptive geotechnical monitoring, assessment and management program.
This does not pre-empt regulatory approvals for the longer-term rehabilitation of mine sites.
Hazelwood EES referral
Following Engie’s submission of a referral under the Environment Effects Act 1978 in late 2021, the Minister for Planning has now determined that the Engie’s proposed mine rehabilitation and closure works for the Hazelwood coal mine require assessment through a full Environmental Effects Statement (EES) process. ENGIE has included their preferred concept for a full pit lake as their proposed rehabilitation method in the EES referral documentation.
Earth Resources Regulation required ENGIE to refer its proposed works for the final rehabilitation of the mine to the Minister for Planning and they did this in November 2021.
Page last updated: 16 Aug 2023