Macarthur Coal outlines expansion plans

Speaking at the Fifth Annual Australian Resources Conference in June, Ian McAleese, VP Corporate Development of Macarthur Coal (MCC) explained his company’s 73.3% ownership of the Coppabella and Moorvale mines in Queensland with 6.2 Mt of managed production (4.5 Mt/y attributable installed production capacity).

McAleese noted the PCI market has been the fastest growing segment of the market since the early 1990s, and MCC is a global leader in low volatile PCI coal. He said demand for PCI coal is quite strong as steel producers increase the use of lower priced coals in the blast furnaces. But, coal production costs around the world continue to increase and high cost producers are under pressure, especially with foreign currencies strengthening against the US dollar.

The port allocation at DBCT will increase progressively from the existing 4.4 Mt/y to up to 8.8 Mt over the next few years. MCC intends to fill that capacity with production from existing and/or new projects.

The immediate Macarthur production increases focus on the Moorvale open pit edxpansion with its Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) throughput capacity to be increased by an additional 1.0 Mt/y of ROM capacity. The expansion is timed for completion by the end of 2007, when extra port capacity at DBCT (Phase 1, MCC share 0.73 Mt) becomes available. Open-pit extensions at the Moorvale mine will provide the first coal for the increased CHPP capacity.

Also, the Mining Leases at Olive Downs and Pit F at Moorvale are expected to be granted later this year. Development of the Olive Downs satellite pit will follow later in the mine life as the strip ratio is higher than at the Moorvale mine. Furthermore, recent 3D seismic work at Moorvale has confirmed the potential of developing an underground mine.