Leigh Creek provides potential opportunities in retail, commercial, education, health, recreation, tourism and resource development.
Existing assets and infrastructure, natural wonders, significant Aboriginal culture and heritage, eco-tourism and accommodation amenities, and a friendly community have the potential to turn Leigh Creek into a sustainable regional service centre.
In considering this RFI and the opportunities it provides, respondents were asked to consider the importance of the Adnyamathanha cultural heritage and the wider community of the region.
Below is a summary of assets and infrastructure in Leigh Creek and its surroundings.
The township has more than 350 dwellings, with a mix of houses, flats and single persons’ accommodation. The building types include brick veneer, asbestos clad, concrete slab and above ground buildings.
DSD welcomed potential residents providing brief information about their willingness to lease or buy housing in the township.
Located in the town centre and operating for more than 30 years, the tavern includes a bottle shop, bar and bistro with a dining/function room, kids’ room, front bar, Keno, TAB, ATM and accommodation facilities (40 self-contained cabins and 24 motel rooms), which are supported by a nearby commercial laundry. The tavern is currently operated by Alinta Energy.
Also located in the town centre, the shopping precinct has extensive retail space potential of varying sizes, some of which are currently leased.
In addition, other town buildings and amenities found within the town centre include highly valued community recreation facilities such as a church, café, visitor centre, recreation centre and cinema, oval, gymnasium, tennis and netball courts, and the swimming pool complex.
The park is attractively maintained and comprises eight cabins (with full amenities), two units (with no amenities), 20 powered sites and unlimited unpowered sites. It also offers BBQ facilities, camp kitchen, TV room, a 24 hour laundromat and a dump site.
The park has bookings for the 2016 peak season. It is in close proximity to the town centre and customers use the town facilities and services on offer.
It is currently operated by the Leigh Creek Progress Association.
The Leigh Creek Aerodrome consists of two sealed runways and has the capacity for planes to land such as the Fokker 50, Dash 8-300, Saab 340, Metroliner, Beech King Air and small business jets up to Falcon 50. The aerodrome also has a valued refuelling facility that services the region.
The aerodrome is classified as a Registered Aerodrome and operates within the requirements prescribed in the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Manual of Standards Part 139.
There are several administration and public access buildings at the airport.
Alinta Energy currently manages the airport.
The Aroona Dam is a 27.4 metre high, 198 metre long, concrete gravity structure located on the Aroona Catchment about 4km downstream of the confluence of Windy Creek and Emu Creek (about 250km north of Port Augusta). The reservoir formed by the dam stores a volume of 3478ML from a catchment upstream that covers an area of 64.750ha. Aroona Dam was constructed for water supply to the community that live in Leigh Creek and work in the coal mine.
The dam was designed by the Engineering and Water Supply Department on behalf of ETSA. Construction was completed in 1955.
Water treatment plant
Three pumps send raw water from the Aroona Dam, through a conveyance pipeline about 2km to a 90KL tank located on a hill northwest of the town of Leigh Creek. From there it is conveyed by gravity to the water treatment plant, where it undergoes ultra filtration, and is then pumped back to a tank located on the same hill. From there treated water is distributed by gravity to Leigh Creek, Copley and Lyndhurst.
Additional water is obtained from seven production bores that undergo reverse osmosis treatment and water is pumped to the 9ML tank that supplies potable water to the Leigh Creek township, Copley township, Lyndhurst, Myrtle Springs Station and Leigh Creek Station.
Water sewerage plant
The water sewerage plant consists of two Aeration Ponds and three settling ponds. Sewage from the Leigh Creek township and surrounding areas takes about 20 days to work through aeration and settling ponds before being dosed with chlorine and used for irrigation purposes in the Leigh Creek township.
There may be opportunity to use the township to support future resource developments. The Leigh Creek coalfield is located within the resource rich northern extension of the Adelaide Geosyncline between two of the state’s major mineral producing areas. The Frome Embayment, approximately 140km to the northeast of Leigh Creek, hosts the Beverley and Four Mile ISR uranium mines of Heathgate Resources. The other is the IOCG Olympic Domain, a similar distance to the southwest which hosts the giant Olympic Dam copper-gold-uranium-silver mine and the advanced copper gold projects of Carrapateena and Khamsin.
This highly prospective area has a long mining history dating back to 1890. In 1943, commercial large scale coal mining began with the initial purpose-built township erected adjacent to the mine, and later relocated with the expansion of mining in that area. There is also a retention dam located south of the mine, constructed as a result of coal mining operations.
Alinta Energy currently leases the coal mine from the Government, but ceased its mining operations on 17 November 2015 and is undertaking ongoing site rehabilitation.
The area continues to be explored for a range of commodities, including copper, gold, lead, zinc, uranium, manganese, magnesite and silver.
Perilya’s Flinders Zinc Project is located approximately 20km south of Leigh Creek and includes the Beltana Zinc mine, which is currently in care and maintenance. With phase one mining completed, the company is now actively focused on exploration.
A 250km rail line links the Leigh Creek mine with the Port Augusta power stations. There is a balloon loop at each end of the line.
Coal trains are the only current traffic on the line, which operates at a service level of 20 tonne axle loads at 70km per hour.
Based on traffic surveys conducted on the Outback Highway for two weeks in September 2014, the number of ‘long distance’ vehicles passing the Leigh Creek township varied considerably. The approximate number of vehicles per day was at minimum 230 and at maximum 370. The average over the two weeks was about 290 vehicles per day.
Roads in the region experience significant seasonal fluctuations in traffic (with September generally showing higher-than-average figures). The annual average is about 240 vehicles per day. These surveys also showed that large freight-carrying heavy vehicles (road trains, semi-trailers and B-Doubles) constituted an average of about 40–50 vehicles per day of the total traffic volume.
The Department of State Development welcomed information from any party interested in the future of Leigh Creek. This includes information from existing independently operated businesses currently holding leases with Alinta.