The company began its operations at Curragh North in October 2004 and bagged a $260m contract extension in 2008 after exceeding production and safety targets. The new contract will see Thiess at the mine for a further ten years.

David Saxelby, managing director of Thiess, said: “We are certainly proud of our joint achievements at Curragh North. This contract not only reflects the quality of what we have been able to deliver for Wesfarmers Curragh but also our confidence in, and commitment to, the resource sector.”

Thiess will invest $50m in the project by introducing a new fleet of ultra class trucks to complement the existing plant at the mine. The 360-tonne-payload trucks will be loaded by a 110–tonne-capacity electric rope shovel, which will be purchased by Wesfarmers Curragh and operated and maintained by Thiess.

Stewart Butel, managing director of Wesfarmers Resources, said: “We are very pleased to be continuing the excellent relationship we have with Thiess, who have undertaken infrastructure construction, overburden removal and coal mining works at our Curragh North operation, and we look forward to continuing this relationship over the next 10 years.”

The Curragh North mine is located 38km north of Blackwater and is part of the overall Curragh mine complex.