BHPB pumps $833m into Illawarra Coal
BHP Billiton plans to invest US$833m in its Illawarra Coal business, to replace production from its West Cliff mine.
The company said it would establish a replacement mining area, known as Appin Area 9, at its Appin Mine. Area 9 will produce 3.5mtpa of metallurgical coal.
BHPB said the move will maintain the company’s current Illawarra production of 9mtpa.
The Area 9 project includes roadway development, new ventilation infrastructure, reconfigured conveyors and other mine services. BHPB said the proposed development has all its necessary regulatory approvals.
In other news, BHPB might have found a way to increase its Pilbara exports without splurging on its $20bn Port Hedland outer harbour development, according to a report by the Australian Financial Review.
UBS analyst Glyn Lawcock said BHPB might emulate Fortescue Metals Group strategy. FMG projects it can squeeze 155mtpa of exports out of its 120mtpa allotted capacity at Port Hedland, by using larger ships and adding a berth.
Lawcock estimated that using larger ships and adding new portside infrastructure, BHPB could exceed its 240mtpa allocation, which will be filled by already approved expansion plans.
According to the AFR, BHPB chief executive, Marius Kloppers, said earlier this year “Filling out the inner harbour is extraordinarily important to us… those are the quickest tonnes we can get.”