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Peabody approves expansion of Wilpinjong mine

Oilfield Technology,

Peabody Energy has approved the expansion of the Wilpinjong thermal coal mine in New South Wales, which is expected to increase production by 2 – 3 million tpa from 2012.

Capital investment for the project is expected to total about US$ 90 million, which includes about US$ 20 million targeted for 2010. Expanded production from Wilpinjong, which is among the lowest cost mines in the country, will serve export markets using new port capacity from the recently commissioned Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) terminal. Late-stage licensing and mine engineering activities are advancing. The project is subject to final permitting and regulatory approval.

The expansion is among multiple thermal and met coal projects that could expand Peabody's Australian volumes to up to 35 to 40 million tpa by 2014. Peabody is targeting an increase in seaborne met coal shipments to 12 – 15 million tpa by 2014, and increasing thermal coal exports to 15 – 17 million tpa. Earlier this year, Peabody also approved a 1 million tpa expansion of the Metropolitan mine, also in New South Wales.

In 2009, Wilpinjong shipped 8.3 million t to meet domestic and global demand and is among a portfolio of Peabody operations in Queensland and New South Wales that is targeted to ship 27 – 29 million t this year.

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