The West Muswellbrook Project is a proposed open cut coal mine located near the township of Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. The project proposes to target the Wittingham Coal Measures within the Sydney Basin. AGE were engaged by Idemitsu/ Muswellbrook Coal Company Limited to complete a groundwater impact assessment to form part of an application to the Gateway Panel.
The greenfield project required design and installation of a groundwater monitoring network to characterise the groundwater regime at the site and provide data for conceptual and numerical modelling. The field program included installing monitoring bores and vibrating wire piezometers to provide information on groundwater levels and quality. One of the key issues identified was the magnitude of connectivity between the thin alluvial systems along the creek lines and the geological units proposed for mining.
The field program included stream surveys and collection of water chemistry data to identify where zones of connectivity may occur. This helped characterise the system and informed future monitoring programs. Based on this work, a numerical groundwater model was developed to simulate natural groundwater processes and replicate system stresses in order to predict potential changes due to the project.