The annual Underground Coal Operators' Conference (UCOC) has been held at the University of Wollongong since 1998. In February 2010 it celebrated its 10th anniversary. During that period a total of 332 conference papers were published within the ten printed volumes of proceedings. From December 2008 digital copies were made available online via the UCOC website (http://ro.uow.edu.au/coal) within the University of Wollongong’s open access repository Research Online (http://ro.uow.edu.au). The UCOC website is linked to other relevant sites available to mining engineering researchers at Wollongong and all papers are easily located through an internal search engine, using author, title and keyword searches. Download of individual conference papers is free of charge and usage statistics are monitored by the conference conveners. Since going live, visitors to the site from more than 130 countries have downloaded over 85 000 individual conference papers. Online availability has greatly improved access for students, researchers and mine professionals world-wide. It has also enhanced the reputation of the University of Wollongong as the centre of excellence in teaching and research in mining engineering, with a keen interest in promoting mining technology nationally and internationally. This paper discusses the national and international impact of free online access to the UCOC papers.