BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has shipped its billionth tonne of coal from its Bowen Basin mines in central Queensland.
The achievement comes after 38 years of coal mining in central Queensland by BMA and its predecessors.
Meanwhile, BMA has approved Phase 2 of the company’s expansion program at its Hay Point coal terminal, which will lift capacity by 4Mtpa to 44Mtpa. The Phase 2 expansion will come into operation in the first quarter of 2007.
It has also commenced a detailed assessment of Phase 3 and Phase 4 expansions, approval of which will increase capacity from 55Mtpa to57Mtpa. Environmental approvals for Phases 3 and 4 are underway.
The Phase 2 works will bring investment under the expansion program at the port to more than $230m.
The latest expansion plans involve the replacement of a stacker machine with a new high-capacity stacker reclaimer system, which will increase the capacity and flexibility of the system.
This project builds on a growth strategy announced last year to boost production capacity at the BMA central Queensland mines by 7Mt to 59Mtpa by the second half of 2006. This includes a significant increase in throughput capacity at Hay Point from 34Mtpa to 40Mtpa by the second half of 2006.
BMA CEO John Smith says BMA’s Hay Point coal terminal was a key component in plans announced by BHP Billiton to increase company-wide metallurgical coal production capacity to around 100Mt by 2010, including proposed production from BMA managed Queensland operations of around 80Mtpa.
BMA owns and manages seven coal mines in the Bowen Basin and the Hay Point Coal Terminal. It also manages the South Walker Creek mine on behalf of BHP Mitsui Coal.