Sonoma Mine

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Mine TypeOpen Pit
  • Coal (thermal)
  • Coal (metallurgical)
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Production Start... Lock
SnapshotThe Sonoma Coal Mine (SCM) comprises three granted mining leases held by the the Sonoma Coal Joint Venture (JV), namely ML 10325, ML 10326, and ML 10327. The SCM is operated as part of the wider QCoal Northern Hub, which incorporates the adjoining Cows, Drake and Jax mines.

The JV is seeking to add a 73.7 ha mining lease to the SCM, which is referred to as the “Sonoma East 2 ML” (SE2ML). The SE2ML is located directly south of and adjoining the existing ML 10327, and together these areas are hereafter collectively referred to as the ‘Sonoma East Complex’.

Since 2022, Queensland's Department of Resources has not reported the production of the Sonoma mine.


Watami (Qld) Pty Ltd. 7.5 % Indirect
China Steel Corporation 8.3333 % Indirect
JFE Shoji Corp. 9.1667 % Indirect
QCoal Group 75 % Indirect
Sonoma Mine Management Pty Ltd (operator) 100 % Direct
The Sonoma Coal Mine is a joint venture between QCoal Sonoma Pty Ltd (QCoal), JS Sonoma Pty Ltd, CSC Sonoma Pty Ltd, and Watami (Qld) Pty Ltd.

QCoal is a privately-owned Queensland company based in Brisbane and has been active in the Queensland coal exploration and mining industry. JS Sonoma Pty Ltd is a subsidiary of JFE Shoji Trade Corporation (a JFE Holdings subsidiary), and CSC Sonoma Pty Ltd is a subsidiary of China Steel Corporation.

The applicants are: QCoal Sonoma Pty Ltd 75%, JS Sonoma Pty Ltd 9.1667%, CSC Sonoma Pty Ltd 8.3333%, Watami (Qld) Pty Ltd 7.5%.

The Sonoma Coal Mine is operated by Sonoma Mine Management Pty Ltd.



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Deposit type

  • Sedimentary


The main stratigraphic unit of interest is the Moranbah Coal Measures, which are part of the Blackwater Group. The Moranbah Coal Measures are characterised by seven persistent coal seams. All coal seams are potentially economic.

A Seam
Highly banded and extensively intruded as well as heat affected. Although the seam occurs over a 15 – 19 m thick interval, individual coal plies are typically = 1 – 1.5 m thick. The coal is commonly dull, intermittently stony, and contains abundant mudstone and tuffaceous claystone partings. The A Seam is generally classified as non-economic because of its inferior quality.

B Seam
The B Seam is separated from the underlying A Seam by 15 – 24 m and is dark grey, fine-grained sandstone, siltstone and carbonaceous mudstone. The northern extent of the B Seam sub crops approximately 12 km to the northwest in the vicinity of Coral Creek. The seam consistently dip at approximately 5 – 7° toward the south and south-southeast, but records indicate dipping as high as 12 – 15° in some areas. At the northern end of the deposit, the B Seam is essentially a single entity. Where the B Seam is a single entity, it has been identified as 12 – 16 m thick. As the seam continues to the southwest, it progressively splits into two and three distinct units and during mining these were observed as B1 (1 m thick), B2 (3 m thick) and B3 (1 m thick).

B-Rider Seam
The B-Rider Seam is generally thin (0.7 – 2.0 m), laterally persistent coal seam which is midway between the B and C Seams. In most instances, the B-Rider Seam is found to be intruded or significantly heat affected. The B-Rider Seam is not considered to be of economic importance.

C Seam
The C Seam is separated from the underlying B Seam by approximately 70 m of interburden. The C Seam ranges in thickness from 4.5 – 6.7 m with dips to the south-southeast at a constant angle of around 4 – 5°. The C Seam has a consistent geophysical profile that is more stone banded in the top half of the seam, but as the coal plies display similar ash liberation characteristics as in the lower parts of the seam, it was treated as a single ply for mine planning purposes.

E Seam
The E Seam correlates with the Goonyella Middle seam. The experience of mining at Sonoma Coal Mine (SCM) indicates E Seam can be intruded and heat affected. The E Seam is not considered to be of high economic value for the SCM.

P Seam
The P seam is separated from the underlying E Seam by approximately 30 – 40 m of light to medium grey siltstone. The seam itself comprises an upper and lower horizon separated by approximately 1 m of partly carbonaceous siltstone. Neither coal horizon is particularly well developed, with the upper ply ranging between 0.5 – 1.0 m thick and the lower play between 1.0 – 1.5 m thick. Both horizons are also either extensively intruded or significantly heat-affected and are not considered to be of economic importance.

Q Seam
Q Seam ranged in thickness with two parting bands (10 – 25 cm) appearing in the seam, which form marker bands for the purposes of mining activities. Mining of Q Seam in other QNH pits has seen Q Seam split into three working sections with a total thickness of 9 m, of which two were economic and mined.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.



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Coal (thermal) t  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe689,639366,447842,5591,764,297
Coal (hard coking) t  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe193,506139,802384,682626,888
All production numbers are expressed as clean coal.

Operational metrics

Coal tonnes mined  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe1,448,954 t of ROM coal838,242 t of ROM coal1,699,505 t of ROM coal3,811,120 t of ROM coal
Annual production capacity  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe
Tonnes processed  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe1,400,471 t826,592 t1,889,087 t3,643,046 t
Hourly processing capacity  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe

Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.

Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Dec 22, 2023

Total WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required 2022
...... Subscription required 2021
...... Subscription required 2020

Aerial view:


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