BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has awarded a AUD$58 million* contract for civil construction and earthworks to specialist infrastructure, construction and services company, Whittens. The contract is part of the Caval Ridge Southern Circuit project, valued at more than US$200million.

Initial project works start next month as part of the construction of an 11 kilometre overland conveyor system, which will transport coal from Peak Downs Mine to the Coal Handling Preparation Plant (CHPP) at the nearby Caval Ridge Mine in the Bowen Basin.

Whittens will carry out earthworks, construction of access roads and pavements, drainage and in-ground water and electrical services, structural concrete construction, foundations for the conveyor and tie-in infrastructure, and a run-of-mine (ROM) pad.

Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator the Honourable Matt Canavan, welcomed the project and said it would bring significant benefits to the local economy.

"Investments like this are essential in establishing a pipeline of long-term employment opportunities, and it’s only because of the work by large resources companies like BMA, and their commitment to Queensland that we can ensure these investments continue to benefit the broader Australian resources sector," Minister Canavan said.

"Importantly, BMA has awarded this contract to an Australian owned company, Whittens, to deliver the work."

BMA Asset President Rag Udd said the project would unlock significant productivity improvements by utilising latent equipment capacity at low cost.

"This project will allow us to increase production of some of the highest quality metallurgical coal in the world at Peak Downs Mine, and get it to market more efficiently by building the new linking infrastructure that will take advantage of latent processing capacity at the neighbouring Caval Ridge Mine,’’ Mr Udd said.

"Whittens will recruit additional personnel to bolster their operator workforce and deliver the integral early stage civil works for this project. There are great opportunities for skilled operators from across the Bowen Basin to be involved,’’ he said.

Whittens Director Clayton Whitten said this was the company’s fourth major project secured this year.

"This is an exciting opportunity for our company and we’re looking forward to further strengthening our strong presence in central and northern Queensland," Mr Whitten said.

"We see ourselves as being an integral partner with large companies like BHP, and when it comes to the resources sector more broadly we’re in this for the long-haul."

Whittens previously delivered civil and concreting works as a sub-contractor during construction of the Caval Ridge Mine CHPP in 2012 and 2013, and has worked across a range of earthworks and construction projects in the region.

The entire CRSC project will create up to 400 new construction jobs and secure approximately 200 ongoing operational roles. The project will also result in the Caval Ridge preparation plant increasing its throughput to reach its capacity of 10 million tonnes per year. Construction of CRSC is scheduled for completion in late-2018.

The civil construction and earthworks will involve approximately 250,000 cubic metres of bulk earthworks to form the conveyor corridor and adjacent access track, a reinforced earth wall consisting of approximately 5,000 cubic metres of structural concrete, and require more than 700,000 tonnes of quarry product associated with heavy vehicle pavements and bridge abutment armour rock.

In addition to the new conveyor and associated tie-ins, the project will also mean a new stockpile pad and ROM station at Peak Downs, and at Caval Ridge, the existing CHPP and stockyard will be upgraded. BMA will also invest in a new mining fleet, including excavators, and trucks.

*BHP and Mitsubishi Development each hold a 50 per cent interest in the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) joint venture.

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