Idemitsu's big plans for Muswellbrook

For more than a century, Muswellbrook Coal Mine has been the source of millions of tonnes of fuel for the world's coal-fired power stations. That legacy will end next year when the mine comes to the end of its working life, resulting in the loss of 150 jobs in the Upper Hunter.

But while it is the end of an era, it also represents the start of a new life cycle for the site as well as economic opportunities.

Big Picture: Idemitsu's masterplan for the former Muswellbrook Coal site. The project will feature pumped hydro, solar, hydrogen and a training and industrial precinct.

 Big Picture: Idemitsu's masterplan for the former Muswellbrook Coal site. The project will feature pumped hydro, solar, hydrogen and a training and industrial precinct.

The mine's owner, Japanese energy producer Idemitsu, has prepared a masterplan for the area with a view to transforming the old pit into an energy training and industry precinct.

The project, which will incorporate green hydrogen, solar and pumped hydrogen, is a key part of the company's efforts to reduce its carbon emissions by four megatonnes and generate four gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030.

The company is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050. Idemitsu Australia chief executive Steve Kovac said the project represented a "once in a generation opportunity" to stimulate economic growth and create jobs following the mine's closure.

"The Muswellbrook Energy, Training and Industry Precinct is an important development project for the region and that will have significant social and economic benefits," he said.

"We believe in the bright future of renewable energy, and we have already established Idemitsu's renewable energy expertise in Australia.