Yallourn coal mine damage prompts State of Emergency

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EnergyAustralia is working to prevent any potential impacts from the cracks that have emerged in the wall of the Yallourn coal mine in Victoria, following the impacts of flooding in the Gippsland region.

The flooding has impacted the Yallourn power station, which includes the Yallourn coal mine, and has caused cracks in the banks of the Morwell River Diversion along with the mine.

According to the Victorian Government, declaring a State of Emergency allows works to be carried out faster to avoid lengthy approval periods.

Urgent works are required to divert the water from the Morwell River Diversion to repair the riverbanks and the mine wall.

“These measures will help to protect the Yallourn mine from flooding and ensure Victoria continues to have a steady supply of energy,” Victoria Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said.

The Yallourn coal mine provides around 22 per cent of Victoria’s power supply, with a flood causing it to either stop operating or to operate at a significantly reduced capacity.

Its electricity supply makes up 8 per cent of the National Electricity Market.

EnergyAustralia executive Liz Westcott welcomed the decision, stating the Victorian Government has acknowledged the seriousness of what has occurred.

“Movement in the ground around the river diversion has stabilised but there is cracking, and we still need to work on actions to stop the water flow around the areas of concern,” she said.

“Temporary measures to seal the cracks are already occurring and a technician has arrived from interstate to install a high-tech ground radar that can help us identify movement in the mine. Geotechnical experts are also on site looking at solutions.

“Keeping our employees safe continues to be our highest priority and the exclusion zone in the impacted area is still in place.”

“Future work that may be undertaken, as outlined in our proposal to Government, will require their approval before it proceeds.”

EnergyAustralia said the power station is still up and running with mining undertaken four kilometres from the area of concern to maintain operations.

The company mines around 18 million tonnes of brown coal per annum at Yallourn.

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