The upgrade will increase the plant’s raw coal handling capacity from 7.8 million tonnes per annum to 10.7Mtpa. Including preliminary works which began in September, it will take 16 months to complete.
Bengalla Mining Company operates the mine on behalf of the unincorporated Bengalla joint venture between Coal & Allied (40%), Wesfarmers (40%), Taipower (10%) and Mitsui (10%).
Under a $141 million expansion, run-of-mine production from the Bengalla open cut mine is set to increase from 7.8Mtpa to 9.3Mtpa.
The JV partners agreed to the expansion after completing a feasibility study on the existing thermal coal mine at Muswellbrook, taking into consideration the increasing capacity in the Hunter Valley coal chain after this year’s introduction of a long-term port access framework.
The expansion will include the upgrade to the site’s CHPP to allow for two-stage washing, together with the upgrading of infrastructure and purchase of additional mining equipment.
Thiess managing director David Saxelby said the company had extensive experience in designing, building and commissioning coal preparation plants in Australia and overseas.
“We have an unparalleled 20-year history in building these plants, including one of the largest CHPPs in the southern hemisphere, which is at the Dawson coal mine in central Queensland,” he said.
Thiess will draw on the capability of its Industrial Projects team as well as the engineering, procurement and commissioning expertise of Sedgman to increase capacity at the plant by 3Mtpa.
Sedgman chairman Russell Kempnich said the company had a long association with BMC, having designed and built the original CHPP in 1999 and upgrading the plant’s feed systems in 2008.
“We have provided ongoing support to the Bengalla Mining Company for over a decade and this contract is testament to the first-class service that we continue providing to our clients,” he said.
“Sedgman is the market leader in the design, construction and operation of coal handling and preparation plants and we are proud to be part of this exciting new upgrade project for BMC.”
At its annual general meeting last week, Kempnich said Sedgman was progressing with securing major projects from within its pipeline of targeted opportunities.
The outlook for 2011 is positive as the company is underpinned by record levels of forward orders and targeted projects, he said.