June 22, 2021

Works continue this week at EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn mine in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley to seal cracks in the Morwell River Diversion (MRD) wall that appeared following the recent heavy rainfall event.

Energy Executive, Liz Westcott, said: “Our focus remains on the immediate work in front of us. That is, the continued safety of our people, undertaking temporary measures to seal the cracking, assessing options to divert the water away from the mine and increasing mining activity where it’s safe to do so.

“Meanwhile, our work continues with the Victorian Government to finalise a proposal that will help manage water flows to relieve pressure around the impacted area and enable longer term repairs. We are working through the finer technical details together,” she said.

This follows last week’s declaration of an energy emergency that will allow the government to evaluate and quickly provide a whole of government response to options to divert water flows. These options, along with measures to seal the cracks, are important to undertake in the event of further heavy rain. 

“We’re pleased that the impacted area of the MRD has stabilised; however, it does remain vulnerable. Depending on the weather, later this week we are aiming to seal visible cracking. 

“So far we have been able to secure modest amounts of coal by selectively mining parts of our fields where it was safe to do so and within areas away from the area of concern. This has meant we’ve been able to maintain minimum generation on one unit and meet the evening energy peak.

“This will continue, and the community can be reassured that we are in constant contact with government, regulators and unions from a safety and environmental perspective, and work is always conducted according to strict requirements.

“Separately, we continue to update the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and we understand that they have reassured Victorians that there is enough power supply to meet demand.

“We thank our workers at the Yallourn power station and mine, the Government and the Latrobe Valley community for their ongoing support.” 

Yallourn power station’s usual generation capacity is up to 1480 MW and typically supplies about 20 per cent of Victoria’s electricity demand, or eight per cent of the National Electricity Market.

EnergyAustralia estimates that the average daily flow rate of water through the Morwell River Diversion is more than half a gigalitre, which is equivalent to over 200 Olympic-size swimming pools. On 11 June 2021, the average daily flow rate swelled to about 17 gigalitres or about 6800 Olympic-size swimming pools.