$18 million expansion planned for Wilpinjong coal mine

Peabody Energy is seeking to expand its Wilpinjong coal mine north-east of Mudgee in order to extract a further three millions tonnes of coal from the open-cut project.

The company has requested the state Planning Department for a modification on its original 2006 approval, with the planned changes on public display until September 9.

As well as planning a ramp up in production, changes include expanding the project by 70 hectares, the upgrade of its coal handling and preparation plant, and permission to begin operating a light vehicle servicing workshop.

The expansion is set to create a further 80 jobs at the coal mine.

Wilpinjong's project development manager Jamie Lees said the $18 million expansion would not extend the mine's life beyond its 2027 authorisation, ABC reported.

Lees says the proposal comes after a resources review last year.

"The capital improvement is not significant, it's only about $18m, but with the increase in coal we get access to, we see an increase of employment of 80 people over 12 months and I suppose if you flow those jobs on, you have an indirect benefit of 157 jobs," he said.

"And from a regional output, or business turnover, that can equate out to $234m."

Peabody purchased Wilpinjong in 2006. The mine has a workforce of around 550 people, including contractors, after recently transitioning to Peabody owned and operated in April this year.

Wilpinjong produced 12.5 million tons of saleable coal in 2012.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.