BHP Billiton said it will speed up development of its Caval Ridge coal mine and the Hay Point Coal Terminal Stage 3 expansion in Queensland, Australia, by investing $267m.

The development of the Caval Ridge mine has been delayed by two years because of the global economic downturn.

BHP said the investment will be used for initial project work, feasibility studies and the procurement of long-lead-time items.

The Caval Ridge project is expected to generate an estimated 5.5 million tons of coking coal a year and 2.5 million tons of coking coal from the Peak Downs mine.

The annual production capacity of the Hay Point Coal Terminal is expected to increase from 44 million tons per annum to 55 million tons.

BHP said that by the third quarter of 2011 final approval for the projects will be obtained, subject to regulatory approval.

BHP and Mitsubishi own the Caval Ridge and Hay Point projects through a 50:50 joint venture.