Global mining giant BHP Billiton said Tuesday it was targeting a 50 percent expansion in its steelmaking coal production in the Australian state of Queensland within two years.
The Anglo-Australian firm plans to grow capacity from 44 million metric tonnes in the year ending June 30, 2012 to 66 million metric tons by the end of 2014, ferrous and coal division chief executive Marcus Randolph said.
"By the end of 2014 the capacity of Queensland coal will be 50 percent higher than the production rate in full year 2012," Randolph said in a presentation prepared for investors.
Queensland operations in recent years have been affected by massive floods and a protracted labour dispute at several mines belonging to the BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance, which has now been resolved.
Production has since picked up and the company also hopes to see the first coal from its open-cut Daunia mine in 2013.
Randolph said BHP was aiming for material cost savings as the company battles plunging global commodity prices.
BHP has already closed two unprofitable mines in Queensland this year and has reviewed other costs, with all non-essential expenditure targeted.
In a quarterly report released earlier this month, BHP said production of metallurgical coal dropped four percent to 8.94 million tons from the same period last year but was up 10 percent on the June quarter.