Things to heat up at Loy Yang

LOY Yang will tackle a ‘hot spot’ in its mine’s southern wall today, in a move to suppress the known area of heated coal which has been under observation for many years.

The power generator has advised the earthworks, which will be conducted this week under the supervision of the Country Fire Authority, could cause plumes of steam, which may look like smoke, to rise from the coal face.

AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets said the activity was part of the ongoing management of the naturally occurring ‘area of interest’, where a mineral known as marcasite has begun to oxidise, generating heat in the coal.

“The steam, which may look like smoke, will be caused by the application of water onto a very small area of known oxidisation,” Mr Rieniets said.

The hot spot – the only one known to the company – is about the size of a rubbish bin an inactive section of the mine.

CFA operations officer Peter Lockwood said the CFA had participated in a risk management process with AGL, and would be on hand to observe the earthworks and carry out testing of some of its equipment.

“This is a complex area to manage and we are working with AGL Loy Yang to implement mitigation strategies,” Mr Lockwood said.

Previous management activities of the site have included thermal imaging, ground probes, thermistors and general geotechnical reviews as well as clay capping, excavation of hot coal and the application of fire suppressant to reduce temperatures.