Yallourn coal mine flood repairs to cost tens of millions

Source: The Age

5th July 2021

Massive cracks in the Yallourn coal mine caused by recent flooding have left a multimillion-dollar damage bill as the owner grapples with long-term repair works needed to avert further disruption to the state’s power supply.

Major flooding at Yallourn has drawn comparisons with the nearby former Hazelwood coal mine and power station, where a massive fire in 2014 precipitated the facility’s abrupt closure less than three years later.

Power giant EnergyAustralia confirmed it expects repairs to run to tens of millions of dollars at the Yallourn coal mine. The company is working on short-term measures to seal the cracks that are visible as it seeks a permanent solution to repair the damage.

However, EnergyAustralia has insisted it has no plans to change the 2028 closure date for Yallourn power station, announced earlier this year.

Mining has resumed in sections of the mine but EnergyAustralia’s energy executive, Liz Westcott, said while the affected area of the Morwell River diversion had been stabilised, it remained vulnerable.

“Relieving pressure on the Morwell River diversion is essential to complete the full damage assessment alongside critical, permanent repairs,” she said.

The company said customers would see a “negligible impact” on their bills due to the situation at Yallourn.

The CFMEU’s mining and energy division Victorian secretary Geoff Dyke said cracks in the Morwell River diversion were up to 200 metres long and would be difficult to fix. He said the repairs would be much more complicated and costly if there was another heavy downpour similar to the recent catastrophic storms that rolled across the state.

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