The open cut expansion at the mine, also known as the MAC20 project, is back under assessment by the state government after being placed “on hold” for several months.
But the state government had already approved the Mt Arthur Underground project in December 2008.
This project was for a longwall operation targeting five seams over an initial mine life of 21 years.
Up to 8 million tonnes of run-of-mine production has been approved from this project.
A BHP spokesperson provided a brief update on the project’s status.
“The Mt Arthur Underground project is currently on hold as we fully evaluate the expansion options proposed in the Mt Arthur Coal Consolidation Project,” he told ILN.
Underground development started back in 2007 to help provide extra geotechnical information with help from contractor LD Operations.
ILN understands LDO has just a couple of staff still onsite – compared to 52 on the development team in December 2007.
The open cut expansion at the mine, 5 kilometres south of Muswellbrook, aims to lift saleable thermal coal production from 11.5 million tonnes per annum to 15Mtpa in the first half of 2011.