Coal lumps

Maxwell Underground

PROJ042 project map

The Maxwell Project is an underground coal mining development located east of Denman and south of Muswellbrook.

Malabar purchased this exploration licence from Anglo American and its partners in 2018. Malabar has committed to developing the area as an underground mine that would be vastly different from past proposals for the site. For more information about the Maxwell Underground Project click here.

It is Malabar’s strong view that this underground project can comfortably co-exist with other industries and land uses in the area.

At Malabar’s request, the NSW Government has amended the exploration licence (EL) to give up the portion of the EL located to the south of the Golden Highway, and to restrict any future development to underground mining only.

In addition to this, and with the full support of Malabar, the NSW Government has added a further layer of protection, a State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), to provide legal certainty that only an underground project can be developed within EL5460.

Throughout the planning process we will be taking a number of practical steps to reduce our impact on the environment and the community wherever we can. To that end, we will be using the infrastructure at the now-closed Drayton Mine to process and rail all coal we intend to mine at the Maxwell and Spur Hill Projects.


Project Benefits 

As part of the Upper Hunter Community, we see first-hand the benefits a vibrant and diverse economy can bring to the local area. For the Maxwell Project, this will include:

  • More jobs for the region. Malabar estimates that a project will generate about 350 new direct, long term jobs for the region along with many more indirect jobs.
  • An economic boost to the local community and the economy. The project will provide ongoing support for local businesses from the initial capital to establish an underground mine and the substantial ongoing operating inputs. This project will generate $700m per year in export income for NSW and over the initial 1/4 century, royalties paid to the NSW State Government will exceed $1.3 billion.
  • Better rehabilitation outcomes. Malabar will deliver a more visually appealing final outcome by placing reject stone and rock from underground operations in the voids at the Drayton Mine.
  • Certainty that there can never be an open-cut mine within EL 5460.
  • Ongoing support for the community groups we have supported for five years.


Update on the Maxwell Project 

Malabar formally took control of the Drayton Mine and EL 5460, now known as the Maxwell Project, on 26 February 2018.

We are continuing the detailed technical work required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and development application for the Maxwell underground Project.

The image below explains where we are up to in the process, and how you can provide feedback as we progress.

Project Update & Progress



Get in touch

Malabar Coal maintains a 24-hour community hotline.

Phone: 1800 653 960

You can also email Donna McLaughlin, Manager Environment and Community at or fill in the contact form below.

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