(EnergyAsia, July 3 2012, Tuesday) — Australia mining giant BHP Billiton said it will invest US$845 million to expand its Appin metallurgical coking coal mine, south-west of Sydney, to replace production from its nearby West Cliff mine.

The company expects the new 3.5-million-tonne site to be operational in 2016 in time to maintain its production in the Illawarra region at nine million tonnes per year.

BHP said its investment will cover roadway development, new ventilation infrastructure, new and reconfigured conveyors and other mine services.

BHP Billiton Metallurgical Coal President, Hubie van Dalsen, said:

“The investment sustains Illawarra Coal’s production rates and recognises the value of its high quality metallurgical coal resources. It is also good news for local jobs and the economy in the region.”