Broadmeadow readies to take the LTCC challenge

LONGWALL top coal caving equipment is believed to have arrived at BHP Billiton’s Broadmeadow mine in Queensland as it gears up to complete its $US900 million extension strategy this year.
Broadmeadow readies to take the LTCC challenge Broadmeadow readies to take the LTCC challenge Broadmeadow readies to take the LTCC challenge Broadmeadow readies to take the LTCC challenge Broadmeadow readies to take the LTCC challenge

BMA's Broadmeadow Longwall Punch Mine

Lou Caruana

Broadmeadow – which is a punch longwall, underground coal mine 190km southwest of Mackay – will transition from a conventional longwall operation to the longwall top coal caving method to increase productivity.

Longwall top coal caving – which is currently being used at Yancoal’s Austar mine and will be soon installed at Peabody Energy’s North Goonyella mine in Queensland – offers safety and productivity advantages, especially in mines with seams wider than 4m.

A spokesman for BHP Billiton could not confirm the delivery of the top coal caving equipment to the Broadmeadow mine but referred ILN to the company’s September exploration and development report, which indicated that the project was 83% and on track to be completed by 2013.

The Broadmeadow life extension project will increase productive capacity at the mine by 0.4 million tonnes per annum to a new total capacity of 4.8Mtpa and extend the life of the mine by 21 years.

Underground contractor Delta SBD last year announced that it won the contract for the transport and the underground installation system at the Broadmeadow mine expansion.

Phase one of the project is the surface assembly of the complete longwall system, which will be used by the mine operator to train personnel on the operation of the longwall.

Phase two is to dismantle the surface assembly and then install the longwall underground.

The second phase of the Broadmeadow project is expected to occur in Q2 FY13.

Meanwhile, longwall top coal caving equipment underwent compatibility testing in December at Caterpillar’s Beresfield facility in New South Wales as part of an agreement signed by Yancoal Technology Development, Peabody Energy and Caterpillar in August 2011.

Under that agreement, Yancoal will supply the equipment and help with the training of the Peabody workforce, which will operate the equipment at the North Goonyella mine in Queensland.

The equipment is scheduled to be installed at North Goonyella this year.

Yancoal is a subsidiary of Yanzhou Coal Mining Ltd, the Chinese company that has developed the caving equipment for underground coal mining in China and Australia.

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