$1.67b new mine approved for basin

THE Anglo American board has given the go-ahead for its planned $1.67b Grosvenor underground coal mine near Moranbah.

The project, immediately to the south of Anglo's Moranbah North mine, is expected to produce 5Mtpa of metallurgical coal from its longwall operation over a projected life of 26 years.

"We are excited to be developing the first growth phase of our planned Moranbah hub which will drive our target of 12% compound annual production growth by 2020," chief executive of Anglo American's Metallurgical Coal business Seamus French said.

"Grosvenor and the wider hub will produce some of the highest quality coking coal in the world and represents a major investment commitment for the region.

"Our longwall design model will enable us to replicate our approach across our expansion footprint, ensuring the transfer of best practice project efficiency, cost control and risk mitigation.

"We have also now received confirmation of our development rights from the Queensland government for the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port - a dedicated export facility that would have the capacity to accommodate the growth from our Moranbah hub."

The Grosvenor project is 100% owned by Anglo American and forms a major part of the group's strategy of tripling production of metallurgical coal from its Australian assets by 2020 using a standard longwall and coal handling and preparation plant design model.

In its first phase of development, Grosvenor will consist of a single new underground longwall mine, targeting the same well understood Goonyella Middle coal seam as Moranbah North, and will process its coal through the existing Moranbah North CHPP and train loading facilities.

A pre-feasibility study for expansion by adding a second longwall at Grosvenor is under way.

Grosvenor is expected to benefit from operating costs in the lower half of the cost curve.

Synergies are also expected from the integration of Grosvenor with Moranbah North, including blending and yield improvement, while a continued focus on improving longwall productivity to 100 cutting hours per week across the business' underground operations will deliver further value.

First development coal from Grosvenor is expected in 2013 and the commissioning of the longwall in 2016.

Grosvenor has received approval of its Environmental Impact Statement, and the key mining lease is anticipated in early 2012.

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