BHP Billiton announced today the approval of the Klipspruit Project, part of its Energy Coal operations in South Africa.
The Klipspruit opencast mine (100% BHP Billiton owned) with a current run of mine (ROM) capacity of 4.8 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) will be expanded to 8 Mtpa.
The Klipspruit Project, which involves an investment of approximately US$450 million, will include the development of a 16 Mtpa coal processing plant called the Phola Coal Processing Plant in a 50:50 joint venture with Anglo Coal. The plant, processing 8Mtpa of coal from each of the joint venture partners, will be located on the Klipspruit surface area and constructed by Anglo Coal.
The existing Rietspruit coal washing plant, located 32 kilometres from Klipspruit will be replaced by the new Phola Coal Processing Plant.
President BHP Billiton Coal, Dave Murray said: "The approval to expand our Klipspruit mine, which is a world class ore body, demonstrates our commitment to South Africa and the energy coal market. The new joint venture processing facility with Anglo Coal will be a value adding investment for both parties and will reduce the need to transport coal on public roads, thereby supporting our goal of Zero Harm".
Increased production is due to commence in the second half of calendar year 2009. Utilising current reserves, the mine is expected to have a 20 year life, although this has the potential to be extended through the development of further resources. Approximately 4 Mtpa of coal will be exported through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, using BHP Billiton's existing allocation.
In the year ended 30 June 2007, Klipspruit produced a total of 3.4 million tonnes of energy coal which was sold through both the export market and to Eskom, the South African power utility.
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