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Local News

Cessnock's last coal mine transitioning into permanent closure

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Cessnock's last coal mine will be permanently closing. 

After being in operation for more than 100 years, the Austar mine will be transitioning from it's current care and maintenance phase, into a permanent closure.

Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon said it is sad news.

"When I was growing up everyone either worked at Pelton-Ettalong or knew someone who did, it was an institution in the Cessnock Local Government Area and going back even further Cessnock had around 40 pits at one stage, we called them pits in those days and they employed directly 10,000 people," he said.

"All of those pits were within 30km of the CBD, so to have our last mine exit the market is a very sad thing for the township but the company has made the decision in part on the economics of the mine but more particularly on the safety of the mine."

"Sadly we've lost too may people up there over the years and a decision has been made that they just can't guarantee safety so they've made the tough decision,"

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"There's certainly very heavy demand for that on an ongoing basis... in fact this is very high quality coal that's why in the past when it's closed someone has managed to reopen it again because they are desperate to extract that high quality coal," said Joel Fitzgibbon.

"Before anyone jumps on to scream “the transition is on”, Austar’s quality coking coal has no shortage of buyers and is of high value, it’s just too dangerous to mine."

Yancoal is the 100% owner of the Austar mine. 

The 43 workers who have remained at the site since it was put into care and maintenance will remain there throughout this next transition phase.

Image credit: Joel Fitzgibbon MP, dated 1916-17