Woodlawn eco-precinct:
A mine repurposing case study

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The Woodlawn mine closes in 1998

Mine closes

Denehurst mining company enters into receivership in 1998

Un-rehabilitated mine site and unpaid workers entitlements

Anchor point

Massive closed mine pit

Anchor point

Rail line from western Sydney to Tarago

Regulatory enablers

1995 NSW Waste Minimisation and Management Act

1998 Privatisation of the NSW waste industry

2001 NSW Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act

Woodlawn eco-precinct: First steps


EPA consent: purchase surrounding Pylara farm


EPA consent: establish an intermodal transfer station (waste from rail to truck) out of Tarago township

Woodlawn to accept 20% of Sydney’s putrescible waste


Residents oppose development of Clyde (Sydney) waste transfer terminal - legal actions

Company successful and terminal enabled

Public/private partnership

NSW becomes major project stakeholder

Company to pay miners entitlements and rehabilitate mine site

Converting a mine pit to a bio-reactor


Landfill gas collection system installed from 2004

Power generation hub

Bio-gas power increased from 1MW in 2008 to 7MW in 2019.

The bio-gas feeds into the electricity grid

Education centre

The ‘eco-precinct trail’ showcases circular economy initiatives

Towards an integrated eco-precinct

Wind farm

Approval lodged 2005

By 2011 operating by Infigen Energy on company land

Wind farm powers 30,000 homes


Trial commenced 2009

By 2014 barramundi commercially viable

Sold to Canberra market


Approval in 2012 to expand waste collection to include Canberra and Goulburn

Major infrastructure added to eco-precinct

Mechanical biological treatment (MBT)

First MBT outputs in NSW to be approved for use

Recovers and recycles organic material for rehabilitation

Woodlawn Organic Output

Processed organic matter from MBT used as capping in pit and remediating tailings dams

Solid waste recovery

MBT output from in-organic waste

Still waiting for approvals

Solar farm

Powers the MBT

Leachate plant

Part of EPA condition to manage bio-reactor odour for Tarago and surrounds

Key learnings

Success factors include:

Persistence: First site was rejected by community stakeholders and several court cases over the Sydney inter-modal waste transfer station.

Extensive investment in R&I to ensure leading edge in disruptive technologies.

Establishment of public/private partnerships.

Regulatory enablers, including waste avoidance acts, high landfill levies and carbon reduction incentives.

Circular economy

The shift from a linear to a circular economy, to promote sustainability, is well illustrated by the Woodlawn eco-precinct.

Veolia’s motto: “Let no waste be wasted” directs their focus to ensuring that all energy and material produced on site is reused and repurposed.

The integrated site now accepts 40% of Sydney’s putrescible waste, and for the past few years, waste from the surrounding regions as well.

The facility began as a State Significant Development (SSD). Some stakeholders believe that it has now evolved into State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) – providing essential services for NSW.

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