BHP Billiton, Mitsubishi to invest $4.2 bn in Australian coking coal projects

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, and Japan's largest trading house, Mitsubishi Corp, will invest a total of $4.2 billion ($A4 billion) to expand their coking coal mining operations in Australia.

Both companies will invest $2.1 billion each through their equal joint venture BMA in the Caval Ridge Mine and the Peak Downs Mine in the northern Bowen Basin, in order to boost export of coking coal used by steelmakers by 8 million tonnes per year.

The project will initially add 8 million tonnes per year and later expand to 10 million tonnes per year, the Melbourne-based miner said in a statement.

The new Caval Ridge Mine will have the capacity to produce 5.5 million tonnes per year, while the Peak Downs Mine will expand production by 2.5 million tonnes per year.

The investment will include construction of a new coal handling and preparation plant at Caval Ridge to process production from the Caval Ridge Mine and Peak Downs expansion.

The Caval Ridge Mine will be an open cut dragline and truck and shovel operation, with coal railed to the BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi BMA Hay Point Coal Terminal. BHP Billiton said that the project has received all necessary regulatory approvals.