Thiess has won a contract worth $1.3bn to extend mining operations at Peabody Energy Australia’s Burton coal mine in the Bowen Basin, Australia.

Under the six-year contract, Thiess will maintain Burton’s annual production capacity of 2.5 million tons per annum and extend the mine’s life to 2016.

Thiess Mining CEO Bruce Munro said high-quality coal will be mined to a depth of up to 240m, marking the deepest open-cut operation in the basin.

Thiess plans to mobilise an additional Liebherr R9800 – one of the world’s largest mining backhoe excavators – to work with the existing excavator and bring in a fleet of Caterpillar 797 trucks to service the two big excavators.