Peabody Energy has approved the expansion of the Gateway mine in Southern Illinois, US.

The project will advance underground operations north of the existing site and will increase annual capacity by 40% to 4.5 million tons within several years.

The $175m mine expansion programme will extend the life of operations by at least 16 years, Peabody said.

Gateway mine, located in Randolph County near Coulterville, has an additional 280 million tons of reserves available for expansion in favourable market conditions.