Transformation of former NSW coal mine to create 450 construction jobs

Monica Gameng   |   April 3, 2024
Rhondda Colliery mine (cr: NSW Government)

Hundreds of jobs are set to be created during the transformation of a rehabilitated coal mine in the Hunter region of New South Wales. 

The proposed Black Rock Motor Resort and multi-tourism hotspot is projected to create more than 450 jobs during its construction and a further 229 permanent jobs once operational. 

“With hundreds of new jobs and tens of millions of dollars of economic activity, this project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. 

“This project is an example of the convening power of government, as we bring together communities, councils and private enterprise to create hundreds of jobs and new opportunities for the region. 

“Mining has long been a source of economic prosperity for NSW. As mines close, the government is committed to ensuring sites are rehabilitated safely, and the land put to new and productive use for the local community,” Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos said. 

The Rhondda Colliery mine began underground and open-cut mining in the late 1800s and its operations halted in 1971. The mine’s rehabilitation was completed in 2008 and the development of a recreational facility on site was approved in 2019. 

The Black Rock Motor Resort will become Australia’s first dedicated recreation resort park for motoring enthusiasts, drawing local and global attention to Lake Macquarie for its world-class high-speed circuit, driver training academy, Go Kart precinct and motoring resort facilities. 

“We know motorsport lovers will travel and spend their money when they know they’re getting the best. 

“It’s fantastic to see Lake Macquarie step up and offer locals and visitors from across the country and overseas the best in motorsport and tourism. 

“We hear constantly about the need for tourism opportunities and adaptive reuse of rehabilitated mines. This is a smart, exciting example of both,” Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley said. 

As mining is a temporary use of land, the State Government is committed to exploring new opportunities for post-mine land use that will promote new industries as well as encourage economic diversification. 

Relinquishment of the mining lease is now being carried out and handover of the site to the Black Rock Motor Resort will soon take place. 

“I am extremely pleased with this outcome at Rhondda. We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone, relinquishing formerly mined land after an extensive and successful rehabilitation program. 

“Yancoal wishes the new owners every success in realising their motor sport complex vision. 

“Yancoal recognises that land rehabilitation and relinquishment is an important part of responsible mining. Ensuring that land can continue to be an asset for the benefit of local communities after mining has concluded will continue to be a key aspiration for Yancoal into the future,” Yancoal CEO David Moult said. 

Key features of the proposed motor park and resort include:

  • A world-class 5.25-kilometre driving circuit, designed by global F1 track design leader, Tilke Group 
  • A driver training centre 
  • Go-kart racing 
  • Adventure-tourism experiences 
  • A function centre 
  • A short-term accommodation centre 
  • A cafe 

“Black Rock Motor Resort is proud to be pioneering the adaptive re-use of a former coal mine into an exciting, world-class adventure tourism destination. 

“Black Rock Motor Resort will provide a range of motoring experiences including driver safety training for the young motorists of the region as well as exciting opportunities for the public to drive their own cars, or our cars, on the high-speed circuit. 

“I’d like to thank the NSW Government and Lake Macquarie City Council for supporting the vision to transform rehabilitated mining land into a valuable asset for the Lake Macquarie region and NSW,” Black Rock Motor Resort CEO and Founder Tony Palmer said. 

Rehabilitation of the Rhondda Colliery mine has been facilitated under the State’s robust and comprehensive framework for mine rehabilitation. This framework allows the repurposing of former mining land, ensuring it can continue to be used in productive ways that will support the community while also guaranteeing that residual risks from mining are actively managed with any new site development. 

There are several major projects in New South Wales currently being considered for post-mine land use, including turning them into renewable energy hubs and pumped hydro developments. These major project sites include Idemitsu’s Muswellbrook coal mine and Yancoal’s Stratford mine near Gloucester. 

The State Government is establishing regional Future Jobs and Investment Authorities to help grow future jobs and industries in coal-producing regions. Once set up, four authorities in the Hunter, Central West, Illawarra and North West will work across government to identify solutions tailored to each region’s needs. 

“Black Rock Motor Resort demonstrates how we are laying the foundation in Lake Macquarie to embrace innovation, grow our economy and attract new investment. 

“It is a pioneering example of adaptive re-use of mining land to support our economy into the future and provides a pathway for the transformation of other former mining and industrial sites. 

“This project will see Lake Macquarie become home to Australia’s first dedicated recreation resort for motoring enthusiasts, providing an exciting new international tourism attraction for the city, region and state of NSW. 

“Black Rock will support hundreds of jobs during construction and once operational, bringing in tens of millions of dollars each year in economic benefit to our region,” Mayor of Lake Macquarie Council Kay Fraser said. 

Source: NSW Government – Media Releases; NSW Government – Mining, Exploration and Geoscience; Lake Macquarie City 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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