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Wambo extension receives approval

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World Coal,

Peabody’s Wambo coal mine in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, Australia, has received permission to expand its operations from the New South Wales Departments of Planning and Environment. The ruling will allow the mine to develop three new longwall panels underneath.

“The modification will allow the company to produce around 5.6 million t of extra coal with only a minor increase in coal processing waste,” said a department spokesperson in a media release, adding that the new panels would use existing surface infrastructure and so would not result in any additional surface disturbance.

“The project was exhibited during August for public input. Feedback received helped form the conditions of consent, including strengthening conditions around rehabilitation,” concluded the spokesperson.

The Wambo mine has been operating since 1969, producing both thermal and metallurgical coals. The new longwall panels will be located in the Wambo coal seam, directly underneath an area that has already been approved for mining, and will generate about 14 months of additional employment for the mine’s 670 workers.

The mine is a combined opencast and underground operation, producing about 3.8 million t of saleable coal from the opencast operation in 2014 and 3.4 million t of saleable coal from the underground operations. Peabody bought the Wambo complex in 2006 as part of its US$1.34 billion takeover of Excel Coal.

Peabody’s Australian operations produced 26.7 million short t of coal in the nine months to September 2015, earning revenues of US$1.45 billion. The company expects total Australian sales volumes of between 35 and 36 million short t by the end of the year of which about 15 million short t will be metallurgical coal, 12 – 13 million short t will be export thermal coal and 8 million t will be thermal coal for the domestic Australian market.

Peabody Energy is the largest private sector coal mining company in the world with forecast sales of 22 – 237 million short t this year.

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