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US$226M underground mine in Central Queensland receives board approval

Anglo American
Anglo American

A globally diversified resources company has given the green light for a US$226 million (A$327.33 million) underground mining project in Central Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

Anglo American has granted board approval for its Aquila Underground Hard Coking Coal Project, 240km southwest of Mackay.

‘Most advanced mine’

The project involves building what is promised to be one of the most technologically advanced underground mines in the world, comprising of a Capcoal Open Cut Mine, Grasstree Underground Coal Mine and associated infrastructure.

The new mine will extend the life of the existing Capcoal Underground Coal Mine by six years through to the year 2028. Most of the existing 1000 person workforce at the depleted mine will be transitioned over to Aquila as the ageing mine reaches the end of its life.

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Job security for workers

“The project will provide continuity for our local workforce, with planning under way to transition employees to Aquila from Grasstree, as it approaches its end of life,” Anglo metallurgical coal chief executive Tyler Mitchelson said in a public statement.

The mine will adopt Anglo’s FutureSmart Mining program, which promises to apply innovative thinking and technological advances to address mining’s major operational and sustainability challenges.

““We will pursue remote operation of the Aquila longwall, ensuring our people are removed from harm’s way and the continued digitisation of our operations, using new technologies such as our Australian-first intrinsically safe underground electronic tablets,” Mitchelson said.

Construction starts soon

Construction is expected to start in September 2019, with the first long wall production of premium quality hard coking coal expected in early 2022.

Aquila is a joint venture between Anglo American (70 per cent) and Mitsui & Co. Ltd (30 per cent).

The project is still subject to final approval from Mitsui & Co.

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