The mining giant BHP is planning to invest more than $US50 million in a new coal mine in the northern NSW Hunter region, the company said.
Key points:The investment will bring the BHP to the stage of “major” mining, with the company aiming to be one of the world´s largest sources of coal export capacityThe company says it is aiming to become one of Australia´s major coal producers by 2020The $US60 million project is in the Pilbara region of WA and is a joint venture between BHP and the Australian Coal Corporation.
The investment is a major boost for the Australian coal industry as it strives to overtake China as the world′s largest coal importer.
It is the latest step in BHP’s plan to diversify its coal business and become one with the US, China and Japan as it aims to become a major coal producer by 2020.BHP says the project will create more than 300 jobs and is the largest of its kind in the world.
It said the new project would be located in the small mining town of Pilbara in the Hunter region.
“Pilbara is an excellent location for a new major mining operation and the potential for further development is significant, especially in light of the global demand for coal in the 21st century,” BHP spokesman Andrew Stirling said.
“It is also the first major coal mine to be constructed in this region.
The project will see an increase in BTP’s production of about 30,000 tonnes of coal per year, which will result in an increase of about $US700 million in value for BTP shareholders.”
Coal supply woesChina is the world’s largest importer of coal.
Its coal consumption fell sharply last year to 2.2 million tonnes and has now fallen again to about 2.1 million tonnes, according to the International Energy Agency.
In the US alone, coal consumption rose to 9.5 million tonnes last year.
The world has already imported about a third of its coal imports and the United Nations is calling for a 30 per cent cut to coal imports in 2020.
The coal export market is currently worth $US2.2 trillion.