The Kandos No. 2 Colliery could soon be opened to the public with the village museum proposing to acquire the site and re-purpose it as part of the collection.
The colliery supplied 2.3 million tonnes of coal to the Kandos Cement Plant between 1939 and 1964 for both cement making and steam raising to drive the electrical power plant at the works.
President of the Kandos Bicentennial Industrial Museum, Buzz Sanderson, said the site and building offer a rare opportunity to preserve a part of mining history.
“It’s actually pretty rare to have a mid-20th century mining facility on the edge of town,” Mr Sanderson said.
“It would attract a different audience. Kandos has the opportunity to have a wider appeal with a story that is, if not of state then of national significance - cement making.”
He said its accessibility - 500 metres from the Kandos town boundary and 1000 metres from the museum – makes it economically viable for guided tours.
Underground access has been sealed and all that remains is the original head wall, an unloading shed with sorting machinery, conveyors and a storage bin that is one of very few remaining iron and timber coal handling facilities in the state.
Mr Sanderson said little work needs to be done to enable tour groups to walk through the site.
“It could make a great adjunct to the museum,” he said.
“For a museum visit there’s something that has to speak to scale and it has a great linkage to Kandos being a cement town.”
In a letter of support, Simon Wiltshier from the Heritage Committee of Engineers Australia, Sydney Division said it has been difficult over the years to conserve such items of coal mining history.
“They either become an impediment to site works at a working mine site or when mines are abandoned there are no facilities or personnel left to maintain them,” Mr Wiltshier said.
“Consequently the potential for curation by a museum is a rare opportunity and we would support this proposal.”
Negotiations are underway with Crown Lands (present land owner), Cement Australia (which holds a mining lease for the site) and Mid-Western Regional Council.
The museum has proposed to purchase the site from Crown Lands, re-purpose it as a tourist attraction and relieve Cement Australia of its responsibility to rehabilitate the site.