About 500 people are at work on Anglo American’s Aquila project as it heads towards first longwall production of hard coking coal in early 2022.
Aquila will extend the life of the Capcoal underground operations near Middlemount by six years and continue to utilise infrastructure at the complex as the Grasstree mine approaches end of life.
Anglo American has awarded nearly $200 million in contracts to six longwall equipment suppliers to deliver a walk-on, walk-off system using two complete longwalls.
It is also investing $20 million for an overland conveyor system and more than $20 million in civil works.
In addition to the construction contacts, Anglo American awarded a $95 million mining development contract to Mackay-based Mastermyne in 2019.
The project includes a $5 million reverse osmosis water treatment system to increase the use of recycled water and reduce the reliance on fresh water at the mine.
“Aquila is progressing well, with support from its Queensland-based workforce and contracting partners,” Anglo American metallurgical coal business chief executive officer Tyler Mitchelson said.
“More than 90 per cent of our Aquila contracts have been awarded to Queensland-based suppliers, and we currently have around 500 people working on the project in engineering, surface construction and underground development.
“Aquila will be a breakthrough project, designed to set a new standard of safety and performance by leveraging technology and focusing on operational improvements.
“The mine will showcase our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining, with a remote operating centre on the surface of the mine, proximity detection systems underground to alert machine operators to pedestrians and the continued digitisation of our operations, using new technologies such as our Australian-first intrinsically safe underground electronic tablets.”
Last financial year, Anglo American invested $2.83 billion with Queensland suppliers, which was 77 per cent of the company’s total expenditure in Australia.