BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) will invest about $270 million (US$204 million) in an 11km overland conveyor system to transport coal from Peak Downs Mine to the Coal Handling Preparation Plant (CHPP) at Caval Ridge.
The Caval Ridge Southern Circuit capital growth project, near Moranbah in the Bowen Basin, is expected to create up to 400 new construction jobs and lock in about 200 ongoing operational roles.
It will also result in the Caval Ridge preparation plant increasing its throughput to reach its 10 million-tonne-per-year capacity.
BHP Billiton president operations, minerals Australia, Mike Henry said the project formed the missing link between the two mines and would accelerate growth and productivity.
“This investment furthers our productivity agenda, reduces costs, releases latent equipment capacity, and strengthens our coal business’ global competitiveness,” he said.
“We are committed to Queensland’s Bowen Basin and this project creates new employment opportunities during construction and locks in ongoing operational roles. The investment flowing from the project will help support the local community and State economy after what has been a difficult time in the region.”
Construction of the project is scheduled to commence mid CY2017 and take 18 months to complete.
In addition to the new conveyor and associated tie-ins, the project will also mean a new stockpile pad and Run-of-Mine station at Peak Downs and, at Caval Ridge, the existing CHPP and stockyard will be upgraded.
BMA will also invest in new mining fleet, including excavators and trucks.
Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3) chief executive officer Garry Scanlan said the Caval Ridge Southern Circuit project was a welcome investment in jobs and the coal industry in the region.
“The 400 construction and 200 operational jobs are a timely boost to the employment sector in the region,” he said.
“BMA should be congratulated for developing and investing in innovative solutions to improve productivity. It is another demonstration of ongoing confidence in the coal industry.”