customer story

SOTO ensures Tahmoor critical assets are safe and reliable

When the Tahmoor Colliery in New South Wales needs specialised engineering support for critical components of its mine infrastructure, SOTO is on hand to take the call.

Tahmoor Coal, owned by international energy, infrastructure, and natural resources business SIMEC Group, is an underground coal mining operation in the Southern Highlands region of New South Wales, approximately 75 kilometres southwest of Sydney.

The mine has approval to produce up to four million tonnes of Run of Mine (ROM) coal per annum, most of which is hard coking coal and small amounts of a speciality blend coal. The coking coal is used for steel making in Australian, European, and Asian markets.

The relationship between Tahmoor and SOTO began approximately 15 years ago when SOTO was called upon to undertake a vibration and attenuation study into the mine’s ventilation fan. Since then, SOTO’s engineers have conducted mine fan vent stack evaluations and several mine fan performance studies. Other engineering services provided by SOTO to Tahmoor include Statutory Structural Audits for underground and surface conveyors and machinery in the Coal Preparation Plant (CPP).


Notably, Tahmoor Coal management trusted SOTO to redesign the No 3 Shaft Conveyance, Overwind and Safety Catch system. Winding systems are used to lower and raise equipment and personnel in vertical mine shafts. They require systems to arrest a fall or catch an overrun, often that can occur due to braking or control system failures.

An overwind event is when the upper limits are overrun, and the conveyance crashes into the equipment at the top of the shaft. The overrun has the potential to snap the ropes attached to the conveyance, dropping the cage with up to 80 people aboard down a 400-metre vertical shaft.

At Tahmoor, this vital piece of equipment was re-engineered to allow it to “catch and hold” the shaft cage and counterweight, preventing them from falling while also allowing for the safe absorption of energy during an abnormal event. The catch system brings the conveyance to a halt and prevents it from falling back down the shaft.

Importantly, the outcome of the engineering redesign met the required scope enabling certification of the equipment, further allowing mine personnel to use the shaft conveyance confidently.

This is just one example of the experience SOTO can bring to the special engineering of critical equipment for Tahmoor Coal, and only part of the overall service offering SOTO provides. The long-standing relationship has produced outstanding engineering outcomes that have helped Tahmoor Coal to adapt and evolve to remain competitive and exploit new opportunities.