The project application was prepared for Xstrata by engineering giant Kellogg Brown & Root and made publicly available last week.
Underground and surface mining at Newlands, 140 kilometres west of Mackay, typically produces around 10.5 million tonnes per annum of coking and thermal coal, which is exported through Abbot Point.
Xstrata aims to extend longwall and open cut mining into a total of three mining leases to the east of existing operations.
KBR said the Northern Underground Extension project was anticipated to start in 2013 for up to 6Mpta of coal production.
“Access to the extended underground mine will be gained by connecting it to the existing mine entry for the current NUG [Newlands Northern underground mine],” KBR said.
“Mined coal will be transferred by a conveyor to the existing run-of-mine stockpile and on to the coal handling and processing plant for processing as per current arrangements.”
The proposed extension of the open cut operations, known as the Eastern Creek Extended project, will target areas within mining lease application 10352 for up to 5Mtpa of coal production.
Existing draglines and associated truck and shovel equipment will be used for mining the area, with about 3100 hectares of land expected to be disturbed.
KBR said mining in the underground extension areas was planned to start in 2013 and cover a mine life of around 14 years.
The ECE project is scheduled to start mining in 2015 and support a mine life of about 27 years.
The federal application was made to meet the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
KBR expects state environmental assessment of the two projects to be finalised by the end of 2012.
Newlands Northern was Australia’s longwall production leader in 2009 with 8.7Mt ROM output.
This mine was ranked second last year with output of 8.21Mt ROM.