BHP plans to expand coal mine

BHP Billiton is planning to extend its Mount Arthur coal mine's life.

New expansion plans at the site will add another four years to the operation, pushing work in the Hunter Valley to 2026, according to the Newcastle Herald.

It is looking to nearly double its train movements, upping numbers by 60 per cent from 24 to 38 per day.

However the annual output for the mine would stay the same at around 24 million tonnes per annum, although the minelife extensions will add close to another 100 million tonnes of coal produced from the site overall.

BHP's application comes only a week after Rio Tinto's planned expansion at its own Hunter Valley Mt Thorley Warkworth coal mine was overturned by the courts.

A NSW court overturned the original approvals for the expansion, which led to job cuts at the site.

 The overturning of the decision followed a rigorous 3½-year government process, and the granting of approval by both state and Commonwealth environment departments.

Coal & Allied had been granted approval to mine bushland next to the town that had been set aside as an "offset" a decade ago. It was to create 150 mining jobs, and extract 18million tonnes of coal a year.

The decision to halt the expansion came after a legal challenge from the Bulga-Milbrodale Progress Association.

BHP's mine extension at Mount Arthur would be built in the direction away from the nearby township of Muswellbrook.


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