Construction activity at Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek project began in January, the company said in its March Quarterly Production Report. The project is no progression on schedule and on budget to rail its first coal in March 2015.
Water supply project completed
The water supply project was completed in March, providing water for both the construction work and permanently for the mine. The work was the first “significant and critical” component of the project to be completed. Subsequent rainfall, has filled the sites dams, reducing the required water draw from the Namoi River for the construction project.
Rail line and CHPP
The rail line – which represents the longest lead time item for the project – remains on schedule. Meanwhile, Downer was awarded the contract for the coal handling and preparation plant in Q1. Initial assembly has commenced and the major components will be transferred to the sit in Q2.
The second stage of the salvage works under the Aboriginal Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Plan was also completed in Q1. The area covered by the salvage works includes both the box cut for the mine and first three years planned mining area. “The successful completion of this work in a relatively short time period reflects positively upon the strength of the working relationships held with the broader indigenous group engaged with Whitehaven on the project,” said the company.
On the environmental front, the Commonwealth Department of the Environment has completed its review of the independent reports on the biodiversity offset land package for the project and indicated that it is satisfied with Whitehaven’s offsets package.
The largest mine construction site in Australia
Maules Creek is currently the largest coal mine under construction in Australia. The construction costs are estimated to total AU$767 million with construction forecast for completed in 2015.
The mine will be one of the lowest cost opencast mines in Australia with a mine strip ration of 6:4:1 and average life-of-mine FOB costs on AU$ 67/t, Initial production is expected to be 6 million tpa but this will ramp up to 13 million tpa over a period of three years. Product will consist of high-quality thermal coal and specialist metallurgical coals – both marketed to end users in Asia.
Adapted from press release by Jonathan Rowland
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/mining/01052014/whitehaven_provides_maules_creek_project_update_coal793/