GRIFFIN Coal is hoping its Muja South Expansion Project will allow it to start mining immediately south and east of the existing Muja Mine in 2014. “The project boundaries are still being assessed however it is within Griffin’s current tenement allocation,” a company spokesman said in Perth yesterday. General manager, operations, Aaron Maurer said developing Muja South was important for long-term coal supply to local power stations, future domestic customers and export. “This development involves detailed planning for a pit expansion, transport of additional coal to port and development of storage and loading facilities at Bunbury Port Inner Harbour,” Mr Maurer said. “As the project developer, we understand the need for consultation and appropriate assessment of our plans through transparent mechanisms such as a Public Environmental Review process through the Environmental Protection Authority. “As part of the planning, there will be opportunities for the community to provide feedback and keep informed on the proposed development of the project.” The company describes the Muja South expansion as “the next phase in the orderly development of Griffin’s Collie coal deposits and underpins the company’s plans to increase coal production for domestic and export markets”. The Griffin Coal Mining Company is doing or commissioning feasibility, design and environmental assessments, Mr Maurer said. The environmental assessments involve teams from Griffin’s mine planning, environmental, engineering and operations department, plus “a large contingent” of local and interstate consultants. The Perth spokesman said: “A conceptual, optimised mine design is nearing completion.” Mr Maurer said: “This is a rigorous undertaking and we are committed to consultation with stakeholders and the broader community.” Brookfield Rail is working with Griffin on future transport rail network requirements. Brookfield’s business development and coporate relationsd manager Paul Hamersley said work was in the early stages. No engineering planning had been done so far and the government was also looking at road and rail options. Mr Maurer said Griffin Coal strongly believes the project would add “value to the valley”. The Collie community will benefit through significantly extending the life of the Griffin operations, extra jobs and further investment. If the exhaustive approvals and assessment process go smoothly, the company is planning to start mining the new area in 2014.