Surveyors reviewing exploration and development plans
Our metallurgical coal business in Australia was formed in July 2000, following our purchase of Shell Coal.
As a well-established coal supplier to the Mediterranean and Atlantic region from South Africa and Colombia, we expanded our customer base into the growing Asian and Indian coal market.
At the time, Shell Coal’s Australian employees totalled about 1,600 and its assets consisted of four underground and three open cut mines at five locations: Callide, Capcoal, Moranbah North, Drayton and Dartbrook.
In May 2002, we purchased a 51% share in Moura mine, with the remaining 49% held by Mitsui Moura Investment Pty Ltd. This alliance enabled both companies to expand their export metallurgical and thermal coal businesses in Queensland.
In December 2004, we announced with Mitsui the recapitalisation of Moura mine, to establish two additional operations on adjacent tenures. The new and expanded operations became known as Dawson, in place of the Moura mine name which had been used since the mine commenced operations in 1961.
In 2006, the Dartbrook Mine was placed under care and maintenance. In December 2007, we announced the acquisition of a 70% interest in the Foxleigh coal mine joint venture in Queensland, Australia. This investment of US$620 million (enterprise value for 70% of the interest of the Foxleigh mine) added to our already substantial and growing coal mining operations in the Bowen Basin, one of the world’s premier coal regions. Steel industry giants POSCO and Nippon Steel, hold 20% and 10% interests respectively in a joint venture with us.