Anglo American is planning to expand its coal operations in Australia over the next eight years with an investment of up to $15bn.

According to the firm, the metallurgical coal division currently produces about 16 million tons of coal and is expected to increase its production capacity by 27 million tons by 2019.

The firm is expecting to increase its hard-coking coal production at a 12% compounded annual growth rate between 2010 and 2020.

Anglo is also planning to advance its thermal coal projects in Australia, to increase the coal production by nine million tons per annum between 2015 and 2017, reports Dow Jones Newswires.

Company CEO Cynthia Carroll said the firm will take a decision on the investment by the end of the first quarter of 2012.