Michael Loney

BEng (Min)(Hons), GradDip Mine Vent, ICAM Lead Investigator, Vent Officer Cert

With over 25 years’ engineering experience including more than 4 years in consulting, Michael is a specialist coal mine Ventilation Engineer with proven results in all aspects of ventilation engineering.

He has extensive experience in decarbonisation, gas drainage, primary & auxiliary ventilation fan selection and spontaneous combustion management. His in-depth knowledge ensures all aspects are considered and explored using a rigorous technical process.


  • Gas & Ventilation Management
  • Mine Ventilation Engineering
  • Mine Ventilation Planning
  • Gas Emission Assessment & Control
  • Ventilation Optimisation
  • Decarbonisation Pathway
  • Fugitive Gas Capture and Utilisation

Track Record

  • Michael has driven multiple mine ventilation optimisation and Ventilation Air Methane (VAM) abatement studies across underground coal projects. The studies sought to optimise the ventilation network design, efficiency for treatment by RTO. One of these studies resulted in the volume requiring RTO treatment being reduced from 900m3/s to 190m3/s, with the ability to treat an average of 750kT CO2e per annum, more than 50% of total site emissions, with a commensurate reduction in capital expenditure.
  • Through effective ventilation optimisation and integration with mine planning, Michael has led the identification of alternate ventilation strategies for QLD underground mine, leveraging additional ventilation infrastructure for almost a 30% reduction in mains development requirements, resulting in both cost and mine scheduling benefits.
  • He has led technical evaluation of coal seam gas projects, seeking to benefit from early coal seam pre-drainage. He has led the development of gas production schedules, utilisation option identification and modelling, emissions abatement and safeguard liability modelling, to support the evaluation of various gas utilisation options across open cut and underground studies.
  • For the Grosvenor Mine restart gas strategy, Michael was engaged to develop the strategy to select gas drainage and ventilation techniques which would be trialled to effectively manage operational restart of the new longwall safely & targetting zero gas exceedances. He developed a system to evaluate the effectives of the techniques that were then embedded in the mine’s ongoing mine plan.
  • He led the Illawarra Coal CAMGAP team which was responsible for the carbon emissions minimisation under the Clean Energy Act 2011 (Carbon Tax Legislation) for the South32 Illawarra Coal Downstream Gas Management. The project tracked carbon emissions and cost in real time, developed and costed decarbonisation projects and presented them to the committee for approval, then oversaw their execution and effectiveness.
  • As Operations Manager at South32 WestVAMP, Michael led the Illawarra Coal Downstream Gas team responsible for the operation of the WestVAMP VOXidiser ventilation air methane combustion plant. The plant treated 70m3/s of mine return air and generated 5MW from a steam turbine.
  • Michael undertook a detailed ventilation review of the planned TBM ventilation design for the EVCT and MAT tunnels as part of the Snowy2 pumped hydro project. He conducted an industry review of best practice DPM management and recommended several improvements to the ventilation strategy to ensure compliance with industry standards.
  • After a QLD coal operation experienced 2 catastrophic main fan failures, Michael investigated and established the likely aerodynamic causes of the failures, then modelled future ventilation requirements to develop a specification for replacement fans.