BHP Billiton sets store on coking coal expansion

<p>BHP Billiton says that it will lift coal production to 100m tonnes a year, up from its current 58m tonnes, with three-quarters of the new growth to be coking coal.</p> <p>BHP Billiton’s vice president of marketing, Boyd Payne, told the Coaltrans China conference in Beijing: "Australia is the most vital region for expansion.". </p> <p>Under the plan, BHP Billiton’s Queensland Coal will grow from 57m tonnes to 59m tonnes in the second half of 2006. </p> <p>Hay Point terminal will have another 6m tonnes of capacity added to bring it to 40m tonnes. </p> <p>The company’s Illawarra Coal division, which ships from Port Kembla, will double in capacity to 14m tonnes a year.</p> <p>BHP Billiton also has plans for major new deposits in Kalimantan.</p> <p>Mr Payne said the market for coking coal would remain tight until 2008, "due to infrastructure restraints and difficulties in expanding rapidly". </p> <br />