The project was opened by BHP Mitsui Coal Pty Ltd (BMC) on a trial basis to produce and test the acceptance of South Walker Coal in the Pulverised Coal Injection (PCI) and thermal coal marketplace. Approximately 80 million tonnes of open cut Marketable Reserves are available.
On 1 July 2010, Thiess was awarded a new three-year contract with provision to extend for 12 months. This contract was for overburden removal, coal mining and ancillary works and extends Thiess’ 14-year association with the South Walker Creek Mine.
Thiess commenced construction and site infrastructure in February 1996. Project requirements were divided into two stages: civil construction, infrastructure and bulk sampling; and mining, including mine design, excavation, raw coal handling, coal processing, product haulage and train loading.
In November 2000, BHP awarded Thiess an additional two-year contract (following five years as mine operator) for total mine operations. This was further extended to June 2006 with Thiess responsible for overburden removal, including dragline operation, mining, coal processing and handling, and train loadout. During this period Thiess was awarded a prestrip contract and mobilised a Liebherr R996 and a fleet of Cat 793 trucks to further reduce stripping costs for the client.
Thiess negotiated a three-year contract renewal, which included continuous improvement targets year-on-year and sharing of cost savings. In July 2010, Thiess was awarded a new three-year contract for overburden removal, coal mining and ancillary works after 14 years of operating all aspects of the South Walker Creek operation. The current workforce and staff total 224 with three excavators plus rear dump trucks and ancillary equipment to service the new contract.
South Walker Creek achieved an outstanding milestone of more than one million product tonnes for the second and fourth quarters of FY2010 with more than 100 days recordable injury free during these periods.