The large open cut mine shipped 8.3Mt in 2009 and is located 10 kilometres southeast of Xstrata’s Ulan longwall operation.
The expansion was given the go-ahead after the major American miner received new port capacity from Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group’s new terminal which was officially launched in May.
Peabody said Wilpinjong was one of the lowest cost mines in the country.
While engineering work for the expansion is underway the project remains subject to final government approval.
“The Wilpinjong expansion is among a number of organic growth initiatives to build our global platform for serving the fastest-growing economies and coal markets in the world,” Peabody chairman and chief executive officer Gregory H Boyce said.
"Asian nations are forecast to account for more than 90 per cent of global coal demand growth in the next two decades, and Australia will continue to build its position as the chief supplier of seaborne coal."
Peabody is targeting other expansion projects in an aim to lift its annual Australian coal volumes up to 35-40 million tonnes per annum by 2014 with targets of 12-15Mtpa of metallurgical coal and 15-17Mtpa of thermal coal.
While the NCIG terminal is loading coal, the second stacker reclaimer is being commissioned.
The completed first stage development of the terminal will give it capacity of 30Mtpa, expected in 2011.
The NCIG consortium has government approval to expand the terminal to 66Mtpa.
NCIG consists of BHP Billiton, Donaldson Coal, Whitehaven Coal, Centennial Coal, Peabody and Yancoal Australia following its acquisition of Felix Resources.