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Bowen Basin coal giant BMA is advancing the approvals for an extension project to push the life of Caval Ridge mine operations out until 2056.

The company aims to extend Horse Pit from about 2025 to allow Caval Ridge to continue to produce coal at a rate of about 15Mtpa – supporting ongoing employment for about 1500 workers.

The proposal’s referral for Federal approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act  has been opened to public comment.

“BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) is seeking approval to extend the Caval Ridge mine within the existing mining lease, to support ongoing operations, jobs and investment in Central Queensland for decades to come,” a company spokesman said.

“BMA has been a proud member of the Bowen Basin for more than 50 years and we will work closely with the community through this process.”

If approved, the extension is projected to extend the mine’s life from the 2030s to the 2050s.

It would involve capital investments averaging about $100 million per annum over the life of the mine for ongoing equipment, site infrastructure and other requirements.

Caval Ridge – about 5km south-west of Moranbah – came online in 2014. It is an open-cut mining operation with infrastructure including a rail spur (Goonyella System), train load-out facility and coal handling and processing plant.

The extension would see continued use of key infrastructure, with no upgrades required to the CHPP.

Works to be undertaken as part of the planned Horse Pit extension would include relocation of some enabling infrastructure such as an earth moving equipment build pad, blasting compound, access roads and powerlines.

It would require development of an out of pit dump and an extension of the haul road to access the proposed dump, including the construction of a bridge over Horse Creek.

The extension would also require construction of two flood levees, relocation of mine water dams and pipelines as mining progresses, expansion of sediment dam capacities and construction of new sediment dams, extra drains, and relocation of the Peak Downs Highway dragline crossing.