The upgrade to the West Cliff CPP is awaiting NSW Department of Planning approval.
Illawarra expects construction will take 18 months and will support ongoing employment in the 35 positions at the plant.
Production capacity will be lifted only slightly, from 7.35 million tonnes per annum to 7.5Mtpa, but Coal Sustainable Development general manager John Brannon told ILN new technology would be installed to ensure the continued efficient and reliable supply of premium coking coal to local and overseas customers.
“The application proposes to replace pieces of ageing equipment with new infrastructure at the plant, and will include extensions to current buildings and demolition of redundant infrastructure,” he said.
Production is not expected to be significantly affected, with Brannon saying the existing equipment would remain operating while the new technology was being installed.
For the Appin longwall mine, Illawarra recently spent $22.8 million on a Joy shearer, along with conveyor and pans that will be teamed with its existing Joy roof supports.
The BHP Billiton subsidiary purchased the new equipment to inject more efficiency into its longwall changeouts.