Komatsu aids quick Moolarben start-up

WHILE Yancoal Australia might seem somewhat quiet since it officially opened Moolarben in August, Komatsu is proud of the role it has played in the Upper Hunter Valley mine.
Komatsu aids quick Moolarben start-up Komatsu aids quick Moolarben start-up Komatsu aids quick Moolarben start-up Komatsu aids quick Moolarben start-up Komatsu aids quick Moolarben start-up

Image courtesy of Komatsu.

Blair Price

Moolarben shipped its first export coal from its open cut operations in May, about 18 months after work began on the greenfield location.

Starting in October 2009, the mine commissioned an impressive fleet of Komatsu equipment in three months.

The fleet includes 12 830E dump trucks, which can have a rated payload capacity of 22.7 tonnes each, with another four yet to be added to the mix.

Other Komatsu machinery at the mine includes five D475A-5 dozers, three D375A-5 dozers, a WA1200-3 loader, two WA200-6 loaders, a PC450-8 excavator, two GD825-3 graders, two SK820-5 skidsteers, two HD785-5 water carts and one HD785-3 service truck.

Moolarben open cut maintenance manager Mike Ries said commissioning had gone well and all the equipment was achieving its budgeted availability.

Yancoal managing director Brian Flannery, who served in the same role for Felix Resources before it was officially acquired by China’s Yanzhou Coal Mining early this year, was pleased with the quick development of Moolarben.

“To have the first train of coal head to the Port of Newcastle from Moolarben in May of this year is a remarkable achievement, considering work didn’t start onsite until March last year,” he said.

“As well as employing over 320 local people at full production and generating 1400 indirect jobs, Moolarben will contribute $5.9 million to the Mid-Western Regional Council and generate $2 billion in royalties for the state and the people of New South Wales over the life of the mine.”

Last year Moolarben was anticipated to produce 6 million tonnes of thermal coal in 2010. Overburden removal started in November in conjunction with the construction of mine infrastructure.

Full ramp-up under stage one development will see Moolarben produce up to 13Mt per annum of product coal for export and domestic markets, with 8.8Mtpa from open cut mining and 4-4.2Mtpa from longwall mining.

Under stage two plans, which are yet to be approved by the NSW government, Yancoal is aiming for 17Mtpa run-of-mine production, with 8Mtpa from longwall mining and the rest from four open cuts.