Peabody estimates the new technology will allow the recovery of up to 3.9 million tons of additional high quality hard coking coal from the mine, with opportunities for future use in other areas. LTCC technology improves the recoverability of coal over traditional longwall mining methods, and will allow the operation to mine the full coal seam thickness of 6.5 m versus the conventional longwall mining method of 4.2 m.

“Our agreement will lead to greater resource recovery, enhanced productivity and extended mine life. It also advances another avenue in our growing Chinese collaboration,” said Eric Ford, executive vice president and COO, Peabody Energy.

Peabody is the first company to sign a LTCC licensing agreement with Yanzhou. The equipment is expected to be placed into service in late 2012. Peabody will work with Yanzhou to ensure the mine’s workforce is fully trained and equipped to begin LTCC operations in the first quarter of 2013. Peabody’s North Goonyella mine shipped 2.5 million tons of high quality hard coking coal to steel producing customers in 2010.