BHP Billiton received approval from the NSW Government on Friday to expand run-of-mine coal production at the Mt Arthur Coal mine to approximately 20 mtpa.
Saleable thermal coal production will be increased from 11.5 mtpa up to 15 mtpa, the company said in a statement.
The mine is due to commence operation in the first half of calendar year 2011 at an estimated capital investment of US$260 million (A$318.3 million).
The Government approval was granted under Mt Arthur North’s existing development consent.
According to BHP Billiton’s president of energy coal Dave Murray, the approval demonstrates the company’s commitment to expanding its thermal coal business in the region.
“Mt Arthur Coal currently employs approximately 670 staff and the approval will allow a further increase of around 190 employees, many of whom we expect will come from the surrounding towns,” he said.
Mt Arthur Coal is located approximately five kilometres south of Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley.