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Peabody Energy increases Australian production after mine expansions

Oilfield Technology,

Peabody Energy is increasing seaborne coal volumes at its Wilpinjong and Millennium mines in Australia after expanding both operations: "The successful expansions of Wilpinjong and Millennium increase our annual thermal and metallurgical coal supplies to serve the highest-demand regions by a combined 3 – 5 million t," said Peabody Energy chairman and CEO, Gregory H. Boyce. "With the recent acquisition of Macarthur Coal and additional Australian mine expansions over the next several years, Peabody plans on a rising share of our earnings to come from the world's largest coal exporting nation."

The Wilpinjong thermal coal mine in New South Wales will increase production by 2 – 3 million tpa beginning in 2012 from the 9.2 million t in 2010 after completing a preparation plant and coal handling facility expansion. The mine supplies export and domestic markets and is among Australia's most productive surface operations. Capital investment for the project is expected to total approximately US$ 95 million.

The Millennium mine in Queensland is targeted to increase PCI and semi-hard coal production by 1 – 2 million tpa when full production is reached in 2013. Peabody has invested approximately US$ 20 million of the expansion capital to date, with the majority of the investment of up to US$ 275 million to be made over the next two years. Millennium sold 1.6 million t in 2010.

Peabody also has reached a 10 year agreement with the Australian Rail Track Corp. for below-rail track access in the Hunter Valley rail network, beginning in January 2012. The contract covers expansion volumes from the Wilpinjong and Wambo mines in line with contracts and allocations in place with export terminals at the Port of Newcastle.

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