June 25, 2021

EnergyAustralia has today confirmed that it is still working hard to progress water diversion options for the Morwell River Diversion (MRD) despite mining activity recommencing in the Maryvale mine at Yallourn in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, following close consultation with government, regulators and unions. 

Energy Executive, Liz Westcott, said: “Resuming coal mining in Maryvale does not override the criticality of progressing options to divert water away from the Morwell River Diversion as part of our long-term repair strategy.  

“Supported by our geotechnical assessments and discussions with regulators, government, unions and our own workers, we have determined that we can now safely undertake daylight dozer-push coaling operations in the Maryvale mine. 

“Coaling recommenced as of Friday 25 June and these activities are being conducted in line with detailed risk assessments, consultation with the Victorian mining regulator and in strict accordance with our health and safety plans.”   

Liz said that EnergyAustralia is still working to temporarily seal cracking in the Morwell River Diversion wall next week, which appeared following the deluge of rain that fell earlier this month causing widespread flooding in the region. 

“During this rain event we saw more than 30 times the standard volume of water run through the river diversion.  

“While the short-term water diversion measures will be good news, longer-term, the work of relieving pressure around the impacted area of the MRD remains critical as this will allow us to conduct the damage assessment and pursue critical, more permanent repairs. 

“There is an enormous amount of geotechnical and engineering work that accompanies these proposals. But once an approach is finalised, we will inform the community so they’re clear on our plans. 

“Meanwhile, we continue to work collaboratively with government, regulators and unions – and we thank each party for their ongoing support, as well as the tireless work being carried out by our workers at the Yallourn plant and mine,” Liz said. 

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. Despite the situation at Yallourn, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) maintain there is enough power supply to meet demand in Victoria. 

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.  

EnergyAustralia appreciates the strong support shown by the Latrobe Valley community during this time.