The order brings the total investment in the South Island open cut mine this year to $200 million. Already Solid has committed $110 million to the coal processing plant and $14 million on the mine expansion development and site infrastructure upgrades.
The heavy mining equipment on order will form the core of the new mining fleet.
The company ordered four Hitachi excavators (110 tonne and 180t) through CablePrice (NZ) and seven excavators (35-110t), 27 trucks, two loaders, three graders, two wheel dozers and two bulldozers from Caterpillar through Gough Gough & Hamer for delivery from December this year.
Solid said decisions about additional equipment would be made next year when plans for mining the Millerton and Cypress areas of the mine were more advanced.
Meanwhile, Solid signed an alliance agreement last Friday with Downer EDI Mining. The alliance will hire some existing equipment and services from the mine’s current contractors.
Solid chief executive Don Elder said to maximise the mine’s value required substantial investment in skilled people, in new fit-for-purpose plant and equipment, and in systems.
Solid chief operating officer Barry Bragg said the deal meant the company could now start making firm offers of employment to prospective staff.
“Over the last month about 470 people, many of who already work at the mine, have been interviewed and undergone skills assessments,” Bragg said.
“The Stockton Alliance expects to have up to 650 people working at the mine, employed directly or seconded from Solid Energy and Downers. Up to 100 people will continue to work for contractors who provide specialist services at the mine. In addition, Brightwater Engineering of Nelson has a workforce of 50 constructing a new coal handling and processing plant at the mine.”
The alliance will take over mining on October 3 and the deal will run for up to five years.