The BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has begun developing extension applications at its Caval Ridge coal mine in Queensland, proposing an extra 31 years of mine life for the Horse Pit.
Without the approval, the Caval Ridge mine may cease production around 2025, while the approval would allow BMA to continue mining 15 million tonnes of metallurgical coal every year until 2056.
The mine is located about five kilometres south-west of Moranbah and lies adjacent to Moranbah airport.
A BMA spokesperson said the extension was mainly to continue the economic prosperity of the region.
“BHP Mitsubishi Alliance is seeking approval to extend the Caval Ridge mine within the existing mining lease, to support ongoing operations, jobs and investment in Central Queensland for decades to come,” they said.
“BMA has been a proud member of the Bowen Basin for more than 50 years and we will work closely with the community through this process.”
No changes to the workforce would occur as a result of the extension, besides allowing some 1500 people to continue working at Caval Ridge.
If approval is granted, mobilisation on the extension would not occur until 2023, with the pit progressing into the target area around 2025.
BMA currently invests around $100 million per year into the mine’s infrastructure, equipment and other costs – split evenly between BHP and Mitsubishi.
If the extension is approved, the operation will gradually begin relocating this equipment and infrastructure across to the new pit, with various electrical, water, transport and storage facilities to also be constructed.
Of the equipment in action at Caval Ridge, CIMIC Group subsidiary Thiess is currently under a $110 million excavation fleet contract which is due to expire in December 2021.
The Caval Ridge mine has attracted plenty of attention since it began operations in 2014, when former Prime Minister Tony Abbott attended its grand opening to promote the future of Australian coal.