The repair works required to safeguard the Morwell River Diversion (MRD) structure at the Yallourn mine, following large-scale flooding in 2021, are now complete.
In June 2021, flooding of the Latrobe and Morwell Rivers led to cracking in the MRD, which threatened to impact coal-fired power production at Yallourn Power Station.
With the power station providing up to 22% of Victoria’s energy supply, a State Energy Emergency was declared to allow for immediate works to stabilise the MRD and longer-term repairs to guard against the impacts of further flooding.
Yallourn Emergency Response and Recovery Project
The Victorian Government led a multi-agency Yallourn Emergency Response and Recovery Project to ensure the mine operators took appropriate measures to progressively reduce risks to energy supply, the environment and mine stability.
Over a period of 18 months, Energy Australia, the Yallourn mine owners:
- Constructed a series of structures to divert Morwell River flows to enable assessment and repairs.
- Repaired a section of the MRD by replacing and enhancing the clay liner and grading to improve surface water run-off.
- Repaired cracking in both the low and high flow channels of the MRD, with those sections returned to service.
An additional water diversion channel was constructed upstream at the Hazelwood Mine by the site owner ENGIE. This enabled the diversion of excessive river flows into the Hazelwood Mine pit during the licenced repair period. The upstream diversion of flood waters during a wet 2022 was crucial in enabling the assessment and repair of the MRD.
Rainfall, some groundwater and excessive flows from the Morwell River are now staying in the Hazelwood mine pit. This will help cover the exposed coal on the floor of the mine and reduce the fire risk over summer. These actions will have no bearing on the final rehabilitation outcome for the Hazelwood mine.
Throughout the repair works, Energy Australia and ENGIE have been required to meet strict conditions set by the State Government relating to community safety, water entitlements and the environment.
The Victorian Government did not contribute financially to the construction of the approved water management works or any elements of the MRD repairs, and the works will not influence the long-term rehabilitation outcomes for the Yallourn or Hazelwood sites.
For further information, visit:
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change media release 30 June 2021: Protecting Victoria’s Energy Security and Yallourn
Latrobe Valley coal mines - Earth
Reviewed 01 March 2023