Aquila Resources, an exploration company with interests in coal and iron ore, has received environmental approval to increase production at the Isaac Plains coal mine from two million tons a year to 3.6 million.

The mine is an open cut metallurgical coal operation, located approximately 180km west of Mackay and 7km north-east of Moranbah in the Bowen Basin region of Queensland and is owned equally between Aquila Resources and Vale.

The expansion will involve the construction and operation of the mine’s recently refurbished dragline, which will result in the creation of approximately 100 jobs during the construction phase and when in operation will provide significant operating cost savings, the company said.

Isaac Plains has already invested approximately $50m on the purchase and refurbishment of the dragline and will undertake the construction to complete the project over the next nine months at a cost of circa $36m.