Dendrobium Mine

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Mine TypeUnderground
  • Coal (metallurgical)
  • Coal (thermal)
Mining Method
  • Longwall
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life2032
ShapshotAppin Mine, Cordeaux Colliery and Dendrobium Mine (and associated facilities) collectively operate as South32 Illawarra Metallurgical Coal.

Dendrobium Mine extracts coal from the Wongawilli Seam of the Southern Coalfield. The approved mine plan for Dendrobium consists of three mining areas named Areas 1, 2, and 3 (including 3A, 3B, and 3C). The mine primarily produces hard coking coal.

The Dendrobium Next Domain project aimed to extend the life of the Dendrobium mine. However, on 23 August 2022, South32 announced its decision not to proceed with the Dendrobium Next Domain project at Illawarra Metallurgical Coal. Instead, the company is focusing on optimizing the Dendrobium mine within the approved domains.
Related AssetIllawarra Operation


CompanyInterestOwnershipInvestor's Info
Dendrobium Coal Pty Ltd. (operator) 100 % Direct
South32 Limited 100 % Indirect
The Dendrobium Mine is owned and operated by Dendrobium Coal Pty Ltd, a subsidiary company of Illawarra Coal Holdings Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of South32 Limited.

Deposit type

  • Sedimentary


Illawarra Coal's assets are located in the southern portion of the Sydney Basin within the Southern Coalfield.

The full sequence of Triassic to Permian sedimentary units are present within the Illawarra Coal's areas, including the Permian Shoalhaven Group, Illawarra Coal Measures and the overlying Triassic Narrabeen Group and Hawkesbury Sandstone.

Wongawilli Coal ranges between 7 to 11 m thick and consists of inter-banded tuffs, carbonaceous shales and coal. The basal 4 m contains coal of economic potential and is currently mined at the Dendrobium Mine. The Wongawilli Coal is subdivided into 13 individual plies and 12 partings units and into three working sections as shown in. The working sections are based on mining experience and are the most relevant division of the seam. The Second Machine Band working section is generally the target of mining at Dendrobium.

The structure over the Illawarra operation area is relatively well defined based on the geological data available. Seam dips over the area are generally low (1° to 3°). There are localised variations in seam structures. Relatively steeply dipping strata occurring at the Dendrobium Mine between Areas 2 and 3 where dips reach 7° - 8° in an area associated with a small scale fault. The localised steeper dip zones are also often associated with underlying igneous intrusions and domes.

Faulting has been identified across the Bulli Seam Operation and Dendrobium Operation. The faults have been identified by 3D seismic, 2D seismic, underground mapping, underground drilling, de-gassing intra-seam holes and, to a lesser extent, interpreted from floor contours generated from drill-hole data. The faults are predominately extension normal faults, although low angle thrust faults have also been identified (such as Maingate 12 at Dendrobium).

At the Dendrobium Operation only four faults are incorporated into the Dendrobium Operation geological model. Of these, only two are located within the current mine plan:

- Elouera Fault - identified in the old Elouera underground workings, affecting the southern boundary of the area, displacement of up to 20 m.

- WW1 Fault - Small displacement fault (less than 5 m) identified in the northwest mains workings, between Areas 2 and 3. There are a number of features that have been interpreted as probably faulting but to a lesser degree of confidence.

As well as the four modelled faults, there are a number of interpreted fault structures for the Dendrobium Operation. Most of the predicted structures are understood to be minor and not expected to affect mining operation due to their limited throw.

At the Dendrobium Operation Tertiary igneous intrusions, in the form of sills and dykes, post-date the sedimentary strata in the area which hosts the coal. Sills and dykes have been identified through a combination of surface mapping, vertical drilling, in seam drilling, aeromagnetic survey and from mining.

Extensive igneous sills have been identified in the Wongawilli Seam and have had significant impacts on the extent of economic coal at the Dendrobium Operation.

Additionally, there is a swarm of dykes known as the Dendrobium Dyke Zone located directly north of Dendrobium Area 2. The Dendrobium Dyke Zone currently defines the northern limit of the Dendrobium Mine design for Areas 2 and 3.



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Coal (metallurgical & thermal) Mt 0000000000002.7
All production numbers are expressed as clean coal. ^ Guidance / Forecast.

Operational metrics

Coal tonnes mined 000000000000000000000000000000
Reject 00000000000000000000000000000
Annual processing capacity 000000
^ Guidance / Forecast.

Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.

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Mine Management

Source Source
Job TitleNamePhoneEmailProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Oct 23, 2023
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....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Oct 23, 2023

EmployeesTotal WorkforceYear
Subscription required 2022
Subscription required 2021
Subscription required 2020
Subscription required 2019

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