Narrabri Underground
Extension Project

We’re seeking to extend the existing Narrabri underground mine. Find out about the Narrabri Stage 3 Extension Project.


One of Australia’s most productive underground coal mines

Narrabri has been operating successfully since 2012 and employs around 500 people who live locally.​​

The Narrabri underground mine is approved to produce 11 million tonnes per annum of high quality thermal coal until 2031. The Narrabri longwall is fully automated and is one of the most advanced in Australia.

Operation Narrabri Underground Coal mine
Ownership Whitehaven 77.5%, 3 others each with 7.5%
Commenced operations 2012
Location 17km south east of Narrabri, 70km north west of Gunnedah
Type of operation Underground coal mine
Operating hours 24/7
Production approval 11.0 Mt run of mine coal per annum
Stage of operation In operation
Workforce 500

Narrabri Coal Pty Ltd and Narrabri Coal Operations Pty Ltd Guilty of Breaching Mining Act and Fined a Total of $372,500

Narrabri Coal Pty Ltd (“NC”) has been convicted of 10 offences under the Mining Act 1992 (NSW) for being a holder of two authorisations under that Act, conditions of which were contravened by Narrabri Coal Operations Pty Ltd (“NCO”). The authorisations held by NC are Mining Lease 1609 (“ML”) in respect of the Narrabri Coal Mine (“mine”), approximately 30km from Narrabri, New South Wales, and Exploration Licence 6243 (“EL”).

NCO has been convicted of nine offences under the Mining Act 1992 for causing the contraventions of the EL.

NC and NCO are both wholly owned subsidiaries of Whitehaven Coal Limited (“Whitehaven Coal”). They were fined a total of $372,500 by the Land and Environment Court of NSW (“the Court”) for the commission of the offences.

Two activity approvals under the EL provided for a number of exploration boreholes to be drilled at numerous locations within the exploration area. NCO contravened a condition of the EL on nine occasions, including drilling two exploration boreholes in the wrong locations, failing to seal one borehole within 28 days after use, and creating access tracks in unapproved locations within the Pilliga East State Forest. NCO also failed to prepare a Rehabilitation Management Plan within a required time period.
As holder of the EL, NC was liable for those contraventions and was convicted for the nine offences. An exploration borehole within the ML was not sealed once it ceased to be used resulting in the tenth conviction against NC.

The creation of access tracks in unapproved locations within the Pilliga East State Forest led to short term minimal environmental harm through the loss of habitat, breaks in ecological connectivity, and disturbances to the ecosystem in those locations.
The conduct comprising the offences was first discovered by the NSW Resources Regulator (“the Regulator”) during an audit of the mine. Following the audit, the defendants voluntarily suspended exploration activities from 24 July 2019. The Regulator formally suspended exploration activities from 22 August 2019, pending completion of a third party audit and report in relation to the defendants’ systems for compliance with conditions of the EL and the completion of all necessary corrective actions to the satisfaction of the Regulator.

The defendants completed all corrective actions and recommendations arising from the third party audit, and on 10 August 2020 the Regulator revoked the suspension.

On 13 August 2021 the Court convicted the defendants of the offences against s 378D of the Mining Act 1992, and:

(a) imposed fines totalling $372,500;

(b) ordered the defendants to jointly pay the prosecutor’s professional costs;

(c) ordered the defendants to publish this notice in the Australian Financial Review, The Daily Telegraph, The Narrabri Courier; and

(d) ordered the defendants to publish this notice on the mine’s website and on Whitehaven Coal’s LinkedIn page and in its next Sustainability Report.


Environmental Management, Monitoring & Compliance



Narrabri Mine

Contact us for more information, to provide feedback or to lodge a complaint.

 General enquiries – 02 6794 4755

 Feedback and complaints – 1800 WHAVEN (1800 942 836)


All contacts

Narrabri Mine Timeline


Narrabri Project approved

Narrabri JV formed with sale of 7.5% stakes to Yudean Group, EDF Trading and J-Power


Sale of 7.5% stake in Narrabri

to Korean consortium


Longwall installed

Narrabri Stage 3 Extension Project:
Providing local jobs for decades to come

The Narrabri underground coal mine has been operating since 2012 and employs around 500 people, most of whom live in the region. The mine is approved to extract coal at a rate of up to 11 million tonnes of run-of-mine coal per annum until 2031. The Stage 3 Extension Project is a proposal to extract coal to the south of the existing mine.

Coal will be mined using the underground longwall mining method already used successfully and safely at the mine, and using the established surface infrastructure, including the existing coal handling preparation plant, rail loop, box cut and offices.

The proposed extension would extend the life of the mine from 2031 to 2044, providing continued employment for hundreds of locals. The Extension would also allow for the socio-economic benefits associated with the mine, including spend with local businesses and royalty payments to the NSW Government, to continue for more than another decade. For more detail, download the fact sheet.

Key benefits


additional net economic benefit to NSW


jobs continuing for decades


of direct wages into the local community to 2044 (NPV basis)


in additional royalties to the NSW Government


of local supplier spend to 2044 (NPV basis)


of workforce locally‑based

studying the impacts

As part of the comprehensive State and Federal Government assessment process, we’ve carefully studied potential impacts, seeking and incorporating feedback from a wide range of stakeholders.

The results of these studies are outlined in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which includes a proposed design for the extension that seeks to avoid, minimise or offset environmental and other impacts. The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) sought public feedback on the proposal in late 2020 and Whitehaven has responded to the questions raised in submissions.

Read the EIS and Whitehaven’s Response to Submissions at the DPIE website here.

Designed to minimise impacts

The proposed longwall extensions will occur beneath land owned by Whitehaven and NSW Forestry Corporation. The longwall layout and surface infrastructure have been specifically designed to minimise impacts on features of environmental or cultural significance, which will not be directly impacted, and threatened species’ habitats.

Surface infrastructure would be progressively decommissioned over the life of the Project, with disturbed land to be rehabilitated to the pre-mining land use of agriculture and forestry.

We will use the existing pit top area for coal handling and transport, so no new coal stockpiles, coal handling and preparation plant or rail load out facilities will need to be constructed to access coal to the south of the existing mine.

Respecting the local environment

We’ve worked to identify and minimise environmental impacts, including:

  • Noise impacts will comply with NSW Government guidelines, or are subject to agreements that are already formed or being negotiated between Whitehaven and relevant landholders.
  • Air quality will remain within NSW Government limits at all privately owned receivers.
  • The Narrabri Mine has an existing, robust surface water management system that will meet the needs of the Extension Project. The Extension is predicted to have negligible impacts to surface water, including the Namoi River.
  • The Extension will not disturb any alluvial aquifers and it will not impact any bores within the highly productive ground water sources of the Namoi Alluvium or Pilliga Sandstone. The only groundwater source directly impacted will be the Gunnedah Oxley Basin Porous Rock, which are integrated with the coal seams to be mined. It is generally saline and not used for agriculture.
  • All water use and impacts will be managed in accordance with state and federal Government guidelines.
  • Biodiversity impacts would be offset in accordance with NSW and Federal Government guidelines.
  • No long-term impact on agricultural production and biophysical strategic agricultural land.

For more detail, see the Environmental Impact Statement.

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