GLENCORE'S Mangoola open cut operation at Muswellbrook celebrated an award-winning trifecta at last week's annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.
The site's Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) was named overall Australian Mine of the Year and Coal Mine of the Year, while also picking up Excellence Occupational Health and Safety.
It's the second time Mangoola has claimed Mine of the Year after prevailing in 2013.
The CHPP processes mined coal to remove any unwanted materials and then sizes the coal prior to its transport to domestic and export markets.
In 2019, 12.7 million tonnes of coal will be handled by Mangoola CHPP.
"We make a major contribution to employment, to local businesses and to local government in the Muswellbrook Shire - and more widely," Mangoola Coal operations manager Nick Slater said.
"These awards are well-deserved recognition for all of our workforce.
"The health and safety of our staff is our number one priority.
"Our CHPP team has done an excellent job in designing a rail and hydraulic system for one of the higher risk maintenance tasks at the plant - replacing chain-feeder plates.
"I'm delighted their important work has been acknowledged in this way."
The chain-feeder transfers material from the ROM coal bin to the coal sizer, with top and bottom plates bolted to the main frame of the chain-feeder.
Historically, replacing these plates is a lengthy task undertaken in restricted spaces and under suspended loads.
"By using a combination of rail and hydraulics, we've been able to take our people away from areas of higher risk, as well as significantly reducing the time needed to replace the plates," CHPP manager Chris March said.
The Mangoola innovation uses a hydraulic, trolley-mounted lifting table, travelling on a rail system.
It allows old plates to be removed and railed out, and the new ones to be railed in and lifted squarely into position without exposing employees to suspended loads.
"We have maintained a strong focus on safety at Mangoola," Mr March said.
"In fact, our CHPP team has not sustained a single Lost Time Injury since we started operating in 2011.
"These types of innovations are designed to help us maintain that record."