Based on a maximum 200 m highwall, the life of pit and a 400 ktpm production profile, it is expected that open pit mining operations will continue until 2038 and that the transition to underground mining will commence in 2032, initially in targeted layers. The open pit design and schedule has been completed and a mining method selection study was undertaken to evaluate various methods for the future underground mining operations. The bord-and-pillar method was selected on the basis of its faster development, greater flexibility, enhanced safety and efficiency. Underground mining operations are planned to increase in line with the reduction in open pit production and to take place to depths of up to 750 m until 2067.
Large scale open pit mining is conducted by specialist mining contractors.