Developing the largest greenfield coal-mining complex in Australia
Located in Central Queensland’s Bowen Basin, Caval Ridge is the largest greenfield metallurgical coal-mining complex in Australia. The complex produces hard export metallurgical coal for use as coke in steel mills in China, India, and elsewhere.
Owned by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), the mine's initial production capacity was expected to be 5.5 million metric tons per year.
Bechtel partnered with the joint venture on the design and construction of its project, including a metallurgical coal mine, a handling and preparation plant, and other facilities.
Metallurgical coal from Caval Ridge, and the joint venture's other properties (including Daunia), is exported via the Hay Point terminal. Bechtel collaborated with the BMA to build Daunia and expand Hay Point, the latter of which is roughly 150 miles (about 240 kilometers) northeast of Caval Ridge, just south of Mackay.
Protecting people and the environment
During project construction, the Caval Ridge execution team achieved world-class safety, environmental, and health standards. Bechtel and the joint venture collaborated to:
- Invest millions of dollars to protect wildlife—including birds such as emus—and relocate some 10,000 animals. One of many species rescued and relocated by Caval Ridge crews was the echidna—a spiny, ant-eating, egg-laying relative of the platypus.
- Take measures to preserve elements of cultural heritage—including scarred trees, which bear evidence of engraved designs, removed bark or wood, and food harvesting by indigenous people
- Recycle more than 600 metric tons of scrap metal in 2013 alone and donate the proceeds—$100,000—to local charities
- Conduct a quit-smoking campaign and provide on-site fitness training
- Raise awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, training nearly 2,000 workers
Inside the project
The Caval Ridge site extended nearly 17 miles, or about 27 kilometers. The coal is mined from two large open-cut pits that will eventually be nearly 500 feet (some 150 meters) deep. The project team created deep box cuts in the surface soil prior to mining operations—cuts as tall as a six-story building. This was followed by construction of the facilities and infrastructure to support mining and processing.
The Bechtel team implemented a local buy strategy and spent almost $100 million in Central Queensland on equipment, materials, and supplies.
The project was officially inaugurated by Australia’s Prime Minister, and BHP and Mitsubishi officials in October 2014.