The Norwich Park open-pit mine is 24 kilometres south-east of Dysart and 266km south-west of Mackay. The mine is operated by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Coal Alliance (BMA), Australia’s largest coal miner and exporter, and the world’s largest supplier to the seaborne coking coal market. BMA owns and operates the Hay Point coal terminal near Mackay and several mines in the Bowen Basin.
Production from Norwich Park began in 1979. The mine has a production capacity of 5.5 million tonnes of coking coal and ultra-low volatile coal per year, for export to Asia and Europe.
Saleable coal production from the mine is about 4Mtpa. Norwich Park’s proven, probable reserves totalled 275Mt at June 30, 2010, and its measured indicated and inferred resources totalled 246Mt.
Mining at Norwich Park is from the German Creek formation of late permian age, from about seven coal seams.
Operating. In the December 2010 quarter, BHP Billiton reported that it continued to assess the impact of extreme weather events, and confirmed that force majeure had been declared for the majority of its Bowen Basin products, including Norwich Park.
The decision to increase pumping and drainage capacity following severe wet weather in the March 2008 quarter minimised in-pit water accumulation, although heavy rainfall, that persisted for much of the December 2010 half year, restricted overburden removal. When combined with disruption to external infrastructure, BHP Billiton expected an ongoing impact on production, sales and unit costs for the remainder of the 2011 financial year.