UGM Highwall Mining (UGM) has secured a contract to start highwall mining operations at Stanmore Coal’s Isaac Plains mine in Bowen basin, Queensland, Australia.

The five-year UGM contract is designed around a run of mine (ROM) monthly production target of 70,000t of coal. More than 300,000t of coal is targeted within the existing highwall of the S2 pit.

Stanmore will provide services such as water and power connectivity, while Golding Contractors will provide ROM coal haulage services for delivery of mined materials to the processing plant.

Golding will later process coal at the plant for coking and thermal products.

Highwall mining represents a low cost increase to production from the existing disused S2 pit in the south of the mining lease.

"More than 300,000t of coal is targeted within the existing highwall of the S2 pit."

This mining method is used to extract coal at the end of an open-cut pit life.

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Stanmore and UGM have used a specialist consultancy firm to carry out geotechnical investigation and design of the highwall mining area, including cut width and barrier sizing.

The companies have also worked with the relevant state government departments regarding the planned highwall mining extraction method.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines accepted a revised plan of operations submitted by the companies.

Stanmore has designed the highwall mining zones in such a way that they do not interfere with future access to the underground resource.

Stanmore Coal managing director Nick Jorss said: "We are very pleased to have signed this contract with UGM after more than 12 months of preparation, detailed design and discussions with relevant state representatives.

"Highwall mining is an attractive option for Stanmore at Isaac Plains given the potential to produce low cost, low impact incremental tonnes of coking coal to be sold to existing and new customers."