Image: Improved throughput and reliability of the existing Maules Creek CHPP

Minerals & Metals2 min read

Improved throughput and reliability of the existing Maules Creek CHPP

Maules Creek, NSW, Australia
Whitehaven Coal

Having been in operation since 2015, Maules Creek is Whitehaven Coal’s newest and largest coal mine. In 2018, Ausenco QCC was engaged to deliver an in Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract to upgrade the Maules Creek’s Coal Preparation Plant and Roller Screen with an aim to improve the plant’s throughput.

The Challenge

Whitehaven Coal is the leading Australian producer of premium quality coal from the Gunnedah Basin of New South Wales, Australia. The Maules Creek coal mine, with reserves supporting 40 years of production, is one of Whitehaven Coal’s key assets.

To improve the operation’s economics, the plant’s throughput needed to increase from 1600 t/h to 1800 t/h. To enable the plant to operate more reliably and achieve optimum capacity, the upgrade included new, state-of-the-art equipment that could operate for longer periods of time, while requiring less routine maintenance.

The Better Way

For this critical project, Whitehaven Coal specifically sought a contractor who excelled at collaboration. Known industry-wide for our cooperative approach. Whitehaven Coal selected Ausenco QCC. We listened to their needs and drew on our expertise in coal processing and materials handling to develop several potential improvement solutions. The team worked through the options with Whitehaven Coal to find the solution that best met their project requirements and strategies.

Committed to finding a better way, the team identified that replacing the existing vibrating screen with the scroller screen could pose some challenges because they were large and heavy. The plant design put constructability and safety at the centre. Following our review process ‘RAMBO’ (Reliability – Accessibility – Maintainability – Buildability – Operability), the design incorporated a platform outside the existing building to support the screens and allow them to be moved in and out safely.

The Outcome

The Maules Creek Upgrade reflected our “client-first” value and demonstrated our team’s commitment to finding a better way. We delivered the project on schedule and under budget, with no Lost Time Injury. Since the commissioning in 2018, the plant has regularly exceeded design throughput.

Following the successful delivery of this project, Ausenco QCC has continued to work on a number of strategic projects at Maules Creek and at Whitehaven’s other assets.