EconSearch Completed Project

Project: Economic Analysis of the Leigh Creek Strategic Options (2015)

Client: Department of State Development

Collaborators: AECOM

Summary: The township of Leigh Creek has a unique arrangement where the town infrastructure and land are wholly owned by the SA Government and leased by Alinta Energy (Alinta) to service the nearby coal mine. Alinta, under their Flinders Operations, also operates two power stations at Port Augusta which are the only remaining coal-fired generators in South Australia, and the only users of coal from the Leigh Creek mine.

In October of 2015, Alinta announced it would end its Flinders Operation on 31 March 2016. As a result of a sufficient stockpile of coal at the power plants, Alinta also announced that the coal mine would cease operations on the 17 November 2015. The closure of the Leigh Creek coal mine poses significant challenges for the Leigh Creek township. Issues for consideration relate to the loss of jobs, loss of population, a diminishing of the purpose of the township, and the social and economic effects of such decisions.

As a result, the SA Department of State Development (DSD) commissioned a study into the future of the township and its ongoing role and function as a regional service centre. EconSearch were engaged, together with AECOM, to provide a high level analysis of potential economic impacts that may result from the Leigh Creek strategic options. The results of the economic analysis formed part of a broader assessment of the strategic options.