BHP Billiton said Friday it has approved a US$400 million investment to expand Hunter Valley Energy Coal in New South Wales, Australia.
The expansion, known as the RX1 Project (RX1), will enable Mt Arthur Coal’s run-of-mine thermal coal production to increase by 4 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), to approximately 24 mtpa. RX1 is substantially a mine only expansion without an associated increase in coal preparation plant capacity.
RX1 is expected to deliver first production in the second half of the 2013 calendar year. In addition to the employment generated by the project during construction, the RX1 expansion is expected to generate approximately 300 new, full time jobs.
BHP Billiton Energy Coal President, Jimmy Wilson, said “The emergence of demand for coal in the key growth markets allows us to get product to market quickly, ahead of further coal preparation plant expansions. Importantly, the RX1 Project will take advantage of existing port capacity and future expansion options will be supported by Mt Arthur Coal’s large, low-cost resource and the ability to expand the coal processing facilities.”
BHP Billiton owns 100 percent of Mt Arthur Coal through Hunter Valley Energy Coal Pty Ltd.