BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) is a global leader in the resources industry, with a diversified portfolio of natural resources. The company's operations include: iron ore, coking and thermal coal, copper, zinc, oil & gas and diamonds.
BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) has approved development of the Caval Ridge Mine and expansion of the Peak Downs Mine in the northern Bowen Basin which will boost export metallurgical coal by 8 million tonnes per year.
The new Caval Ridge Mine will have the capacity to produce 5.5 million tonnes per year, while the Peak Downs Mine will expand production by 2.5 million tonnes per year.
The US$4.2 billion investment, of which BHP Billiton’s share is US$2.1 billion, will include construction of a new coal handling and preparation plant at Caval Ridge to process production from the Caval Ridge Mine and Peak Downs expansion.
Coal from the Peak Downs expansion will be transported by conveyor to the new plant. The Peak Downs Mine lies to the immediate south of the new Caval Ridge Mine.
The Caval Ridge Mine will be an open cut dragline and truck and shovel operation, with coal railed to the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance Hay Point Coal Terminal. The project has received all necessary regulatory approvals.
BHP expects to further boost the export metallurgical coal from the project through a rapid, low cost expansion to 10 million tonnes per year.
This additional 2 million tonnes per year will only require the addition of mining equipment. This expansion has not yet been permitted.
The resource life of the initial project is expected to be greater than 60 years. First coal is expected in 2014.
BHP foreshadowed the Caval Ridge Mine in March of this year at the same time it announced investments in the new 4.5 million tonne per year Daunia mine, the life extension of the Broadmeadow mine and the 11 million tonne per year expansion of the Hay Point Coal Terminal.