One of the newest coal mines in Australia has recently commissioned a fleet of Komatsu equipment, allowing it to start exporting coal in May this year just 18 months after works started on what was a greenfields site.
The Moolarben mine, north of Mudgee, NSW, had its official opening at the beginning of August, when 220 guests from around Australia and overseas joined employees and students from the Ulan Public School for the celebrations at the Moolarben mine, north of Mudgee.
Representatives of partners in the project, Yancoal Australia, Sojitz from Japan and a Korean consortium, uncovered a plaque to mark the opening of the $450 million project.
The mine will have a life of more than 20 years, with both open cut and underground extraction of thermal coal from the Moolarben seam, most destined for shipment by rail to the Port of Newcastle for export.
The Komatsu fleet at the mine includes twelve 830E dump trucks (with a further four to follow), five D475A-5 dozers (with a further two in March), three D375A-5 dozers, a WA1200-3 loader, two WA200-6 loaders, a PC450-8 excavator, two GD825-3 graders, two SK820-5 skidsteers, two HD785-5 water carts (with another to follow) and one HD785-3 service truck.
According to Mike Ries, open cut maintenance manager at Moolarben, Komatsu equipment was selected as it offered the best option of delivery times, pricing and support.
Commissioning of the equipment began in October 2009, and was largely completed by January this year.
"The commissioning process went very well," said Mike. "We worked closely with the Komatsu people, and we were able to share our experience and expertise to get the job done.
"All the equipment is achieving its budgeted availability, plus we've got good OEM support from Komatsu on site, giving us the technical support we need and supplying us very well with spare parts," he said.
Initial overburden operations began in November last year, allowing the first shipment of coal to be transported to Newcastle in May.
Brian Flannery of Yancoal one of Moolarben's major shareholders paid tribute to all who had brought the mine into production less than 18 months after commencement.
"To have the first train of coal head to the Port of Newcastle from Moolarben in May of this year is a remarkable achievement, considering work didn't start on site until March last year," he said.
Brian Flannery said Moolarben looked forward to becoming a responsible and responsive member of the Ulan and Mudgee communities.
"We will make significant contributions at local, regional, state and national levels," he said.
"As well as employing over 320 local people at full production, and generating 1400 indirect jobs, Moolarben will contribute $5.9 million to the Mid-Western Regional Council and generate $2 billion in royalties for the state and the people of NSW over the life of the mine."