Anglo American to extend Aquila’s mine life

Aquila underground mine. Image: Anglo American.

Anglo American will be boosting the life of its Aquila metallurgical coal project in Queensland by six years through a $240 million investment.

As part of the investment, Anglo American awarded $200 million to longwall suppliers, $20 million for an overland conveyor system and more than $20 million in civil works.

This will allow Anglo American to continue using its infrastructure at the Capcoal complex as the nearby Grasstree mine approaches its end of life.

The project also includes a $5 million reverse osmosis water treatment system to increase the usage of recycled water, reducing Anglo American’s reliance on using fresh water at the Aquila mine.

Anglo American metallurgical coal business chief executive Tyler Mitchelson said the Aquila project was on track for first longwall production of premium hard coking coal in early 2022.

“Aquila will be a breakthrough project, designed to set a new standard of safety and performance by leveraging technology and focussing on operational improvements,” Mitchelson said.

“The mine will showcase our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining with a remote operating centre on the surface of the mine, proximity detection systems underground to alert machine operators to pedestrians and the continued digitalisation of our operations, using new technologies such as our Australian-first intrinsically safe underground electronic tablets.

“More than 90 per cent of our Aquila contracts have been awarded to Queensland-based suppliers and we currently have around 500 people working on the project in engineering, surface construction and underground development.”

During the last financial year, Anglo American invested a total of $2.83 billion with Queensland suppliers, accounting for 77 per cent of the company’s total expenditure in Australia.

Aquila is part of the Capcoal joint venture between Anglo American (70 per cent) and Mitsui & Co (30 per cent).

Anglo American produces an average of 3.5 million tonnes of coal per annum at the Aquila site.

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