Anglo American has made its first longwall shear at the new Aquila coal mine in Central Queensland, adding seven years of life to the existing Capcoal operations.
This was the project’s final stage of commissioning and was completed on time and budget, according to Anglo American chief executive officer of bulk commodities Themba Mkhwanazi.
“We have delivered the Aquila project on time and within our budgeted attributable cost of $226 million,” Mkhwanazi said.
“This new mine will have a total average annual saleable production of around five million tonnes of premium quality hard-coking coal and benefits from low-capital intensity as we are using the existing infrastructure and systems from our adjacent operations.”
The Capcoal operations also include the Capcoal open cut mine, the coal handling and preparation plant, and the recently exhausted Grasstree mine.
Anglo American’s metallurgical coal business chief executive officer Tyler Mitchelson said it was an impressive achievement despite the market conditions.
“Safely starting up longwall mining at Aquila Mine on our original schedule, despite the effects of the pandemic, is an important milestone for our metallurgical coal business and will support our ongoing contribution to both the Middlemount community, and Queensland’s economy,” Mitchelson said.
“The mine uses our existing infrastructure at our Capcoal complex and supports around 600 ongoing operational roles for our Queensland-based workforce, including providing continuity of employment for our Grasstree mining team.”
Anglo American will now operate Aquila in a 70/30 joint venture with Mitsui & Co as one of Australia’s most technologically advanced underground mines, using automation and data analytics.
The mine includes two longwalls to allow for operations to eliminate downtime usually spent on longwall relocation.