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EnergyAustralia has confirmed the possible reinstatement of the Kandos-to-Gulgong rail line will be explored as one of the options to secure Mt Piper power station's coal supply into the future.
Mt Piper generates up to 15 per cent of the State's energy and is supplied by the adjacent Springvale Mine, which earlier this year encountered problems with lower yields.
This has led to owners Centennial Coal seeking approval to allow coal to be hauled from Clarence Colliery by road up until December 2020 as an immediate solution to a supply problem.
Springvale is scheduled to close in 2024 - nearly two decades before the end of Mt Piper's operational life - and the recent issues have expedited the search for long-term alternatives, which could include sourcing coal from Ulan or beyond.
Earlier this year the NSW Government announced $500,000 for the 'Kandos to Gulgong Line Reinstatement Feasibility Study', a Fixing Country Rail project, which is scheduled to commence next month. And in January EnergyAustralia received approval to modify a proposed rail coal unloader at Pipers Flat, originally approved in 2009 but not built.
Currently the station is fed by conveyor belts from Springvale. However, the unloader would connect to the Wallerawang-to-Mudgee rail line and enable them to source coal from other mines.
An EnergyAustralia spokesperson said that options are being explored, because "Mt Piper is critical to the reliability of the state's electricity system".
"In the past, there were six mines able to supply coal to Mt Piper - now it's just one, the nearby Springvale mine," the spokesperson said.
This article first appeared on www.lithgowmercury.com.au
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