Komatsu and PIMS Group have formed an agreement that will help extend the life of multiple Queensland coal mines.
The agreement follows the recent five-year contract PIMS Group was awarded to convert the idled open-cut Millennium and Mavis Downs coal mines, west of Mackay, to an underground operation, which could ultimately result in an estimated 1.2 million tonnes of incremental coal extraction each year.
Komatsu will provide comprehensive maintenance, parts, rebuild and engineering support service to PIMS Group to ensure the companies’ joint objectives are effectively supported.
“The success of the three-way venture with PIMS Group and MetRes depended on total confidence of each partner to reliably deliver in its area of expertise,” Komatsu Australasia Underground Soft Rock vice president Rob Roger said.
“The arrangement aligns well with Komatsu’s focus on ‘creating value together’, an initiative intended to secure long-term customer solutions, particularly to the benefit of society and communities.”
The Komatsu machines are set to arrive in mid-2022 to coincide with PIMS Group’s conversion of the Mavis Downs site to an underground operation, which will be followed soon after by conversion of the Millennium site.
Rehabilitation of the open-cut sites will also coincide with the switch to underground operations, with the underground activity predicted to create an additional mine life of 12 years, producing 13.9 million tonnes of metallurgical coal.
There will be a full-time preventative maintenance team from Komatsu at the mine sites to help maximise the operation of the eight pieces of equipment, including two 12CM27 continuous miners, four 10SC32 shuttle cars, one feeder breaker and one multibolter.
“A partnership and risk-sharing approach, together with the potential for substantial local employment opportunities, had been paramount in PIMS Group winning its bid to operate the infrastructure of both mines,” MetRes chairperson Matt Latimore said.
The underground expansion will be economically achieved through the mines’ existing highwalls, yielding low-ash, high-quality metallurgical coal used in the production of steel globally.
The MetRes rejuvenation has the potential to create up to 100 mine construction jobs and result in more than 125 direct full-time mining jobs, with the Komatsu addition to create even more.
The PIMS Group contract is seen as the forerunner for extending the operating life and remediation of aboveground sites which have so far been presumed to be near the end of their productive life.