Anglo American CEO Tyler Mitchelson has announced the expansion of the Aquila Project which will create a peak workforce of 600.
Anglo American CEO Tyler Mitchelson has announced the expansion of the Aquila Project which will create a peak workforce of 600. The Courier Mail

Anglo growth project to increase mining workforce up to 600

ANGLO American's Grasstree miners are expected to be funnelled into a new metallurgical coal operation expansion, dubbed as one of the "most technologically advanced underground mines in the world”.

The announcement of the Aquila project approval came from the mining giant on Thursday, saying Aquila would extend the life of Anglo American's existing Capcoal underground operations by six years to 2028.

The mine will create a peak workforce of 600 and be adjacent to the Grasstree underground operation.

With an expected capital cost of $US226million (Anglo American share), development is expected to kick off in September this year, with the first longwall production of hard coking coal expected in early 2022.

Chief executive, Tyler Mitchelson, said Aquila would provide ongoing employment opportunities for the Grasstree workforce as the mine reaches its end of life.

"The Aquila project is a key part of our long term business strategy, as we continue to optimise existing capacity in our operations,” he said.

"Aquila will have an average annual saleable production of around five million tonnes of premium quality hard coking coal, used in steel production for critical building and infrastructure around the world.

"The Aquila project approval is a further demonstration of our commitment to the Australian metallurgical coal business, and the Central Queensland communities where we operate.”

The site of Anglo America's Aquila project.
The site of Anglo America's Aquila project. Anglo American

The mine will adopt Anglo's FutureSmart Mining program, which applies innovative thinking and technological advances to major operational and sustainability challenges.

"Anglo American has been at the forefront of embracing innovation to drive the next level of mine safety and performances,” Mr Mitchelson said.

"We will pursue remote operation of the Aquila longwall, ensuring our people are removed from harm's way, and the continued digitisation of our operations, using new technologies such as our Australian-first intrinsically safe underground electronic tablets.

"The accelerating pace of technological innovation, particularly in the digitalisation, automation and artificial intelligence areas, are opening up opportunities for the mining sector to be safer, more productive and sustainable.

"As the largest underground coal miner in Australia, we are leveraging the innovative work already under way at our existing mine sites and scaling the development of new technologies in our operations.”

Anglo American facts

  • The Capcoal complex consists of the Capcoal Open Cut and Grasstree mines near Middlemount in Central Queensland's Bowen Basin.
  • Anglo American is the world's third largest seaborne exporter of metallurgical coal, with two open cut and three underground metallurgical coal mines.
  • The Aquila project is a medium seam longwall operation targeting the Aquila and Aquila Lower coal seams to produce hard coking coal.
  • Aquila will include construction of surface infrastructure, development of longwall panels and underground infrastructure.
  • The project is jointly owned by Anglo American and Mitsui Coal Holding Pty Ltd, with Anglo as the managing company.