Newcastle Chapter

Lessons from the Yallourn Batter Failure Inquiry

Adjunct Professor Tim Sullivan

The Northern Batter of the Yallourn Mine collapsed at approximately 2:00am on 14th November 2007. The collapse diverted the Yallourn River into the mine, resulted in the immediate loss of one fifth of Victorias Power Generation capacity and cost the mine over $200 million.

Because of the environmental and infrastructure damage, the Victorian Government decided to hold an Inquiry and appointed Tim Sullivan as the Mining Warden to hold the Inquiry.

This presentation describes the facts, circumstances and causes for the failure and presents the lessons learnt from an examination of all elements.

Speaker biography

Tim Sullivan has more than 36 years experience in large open pit design and stability for over 400 mining projects. Tim worked with Coffey for 18 years before establishing his own firm, Pells Sullivan Meynink, in 1993. He is a Chartered Professional Engineer and a Chartered Professional Mining. He is a Fellow of both the Institute of Engineers and the Australian Institution of Mining and Metallurgy. Tim has worked throughout Australia, Asia/Pacific, Africa and Central America. From 1997 to 2000 Mr Sullivan was the NSW Coroner’s adviser for the Thredbo Landslide Inquiry.

In 2007 he was appointed a Mining Warden by the Victorian Government for the Yallourn Mine Inquiry.

In 2009 he was appointed the Chairman of the Victorian Government’s Technical Review Board.

Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.