A $90 million fleet of Komatsu mining equipment, delivered to Macarthur Coal's Moorvale mine in central Queensland in late 2008, has helped the mine achieve record production levels as it bounces back from the effects of the Global Financial Crisis.
The fleet consists of two PC5500 excavators, ten 830E dump trucks and three D475A-5 dozers, along with ancillary equipment such as graders and water carts. The equipment is owned by the Coppabella Moorvale Joint Venture, in which Macarthur Coal owns 73.3%, and operated and maintained by Leighton Contractors.
Macarthur Coal Limited is the world's largest producer of low volatile pulverized injection coal (LV PCI) used for steel making producing 30% of the world's LV PCI coal.
As a supplier to the world's leading steel producers, Macarthur Coal exports its entire product around the globe, with 40% of its output exported to Europe, 40% to Asia and 20% to South America.
The company has been in operation for 10 years, and its ROM coal output is around 8.5 million tonnes a year.
It currently operates two mines in Queensland's Bowen Basin the Moorvale mine and another at Coppabella and plans to double its production capacity in the next five years through the development of the Middlemount Mine project and another project.
Coppabella is a dragline/electric shovel operation, along with excavators and dump trucks, while Moorvale operates using an all-Komatsu fleet, according to Macarthur Coal's Chief Operating Officer, Peter Kane.
"There has always been a Komatsu presence at Moorvale," he said.
"The previous trucks here were Komatsu 630Es, and we've upgraded all of them to the new 830Es.
"The machines were delivered late in 2008, so we've had about a year's experience with this fleet.
"However, due to the GFC, which reduced demand for our products during late 2008 and early 2009, it's been difficult to fully evaluate performance over a full 12 months," Peter said.
"The equipment landed just as the GFC started, which forced us to change our mine plan and adjust our tonnages.
"Production levels certainly were down for the first half of this year, but now we're really hitting our straps.
"Over the past six months, we've been moving more product and regularly hitting record levels; you can't get those high throughput levels unless you are moving your overburden efficiently and that's what the Komatsu gear does," he said.
"The trucks especially are well-known and proven performers, and the operators really like them.
"The diggers are now starting to get the productivity we really want from them as demand for our product goes up with the recovering world economy."
In the couple of years leading up to the purchasing decision for the new Moorvale fleet, Peter said Macarthur Coal carried out detailed analysis of what it required and what was available from suppliers.
"To be honest, the Komatsu equipment was available when we wanted it, at a time of world equipment shortages pre-GFC plus it stacked up very well in comparison with other OEMs.
"In terms of support and service, we have a unique situation, where we own the equipment, our contractor operates and maintains it, and Komatsu supplies and services it as well as covering warranty.
"Given this situation, where there is potential for disputes and buck-passing, everything is operating well, carried through by good will on the part of all parties concerned," said Peter.