Caledon clarifies situation at Cook
MANAGEMENT at the state's oldest underground coal mine prepare for new challenges.
Wednesday 26 October 2016
Caledon Coal has sought to clarify rumours and speculation that there will be significant work stoppages at Cook Colliery over the coming months as the company prepares for a longwall move.
General Manager Mark Filtness says Caledon Coal is preparing for a longwall move and some major maintenance works at Cook, but says it’s unclear what this will mean for employees.
“We are nearing the end of our current longwall panel and preparing to remove the longwall equipment in November, “ he told Shift Miner.
“The timing of the longwall installation in the next panel will depend on the completion of the installation road which has been delayed due to mining through a major fault, the failure of a continuous miner and a decision to extend the length of the next panel.
“A ventilation maintenance project is also planned for later in the year, and this work requires a shutdown of the full ventilation system and will prevent underground operations for up to seven days.
“We are working with the supplier to finalise the timing of this maintenance work and continue to assess the discontinuity period between longwall panels and the work that can be executed by our longwall teams while waiting for our development crews to complete the longwall installation road.
“It is early days as we haven’t broken chain yet and there is a body of work to be done recovering the longwall first.
“We will continue to liaise with employees and contractors to manage the situation in a way that minimises the impact on the business.”
Cook Colliery is the state's oldest underground mine, and before the introduction of a longwall mining system in 2014, was a board and pillar operation producing around 400,000 tonnes of coal a year.
However, the mines age and geology have presented all sorts of technical challenges that resulted in the longwall stopping for around nine months in 2015.
When the Longwall resumed in January this year Caledon CEO Peter Trout told Shift Miner, he was optimistic about what they could achieve.
“Like everyone else our focus is getting more productive,” he said.
“We have a challenging seam, with workings above us, and challenging geological conditions.
“But hopefully, we can optimise our configuration to get the most out of the longwall.”
While “old Cook” is the major focus for Caledon at the moment, it continues to invest in its other tenements in Central Queensland.
Late last year, Caledon finally got a mining lease approved for their greenfield Minyango coal project, and is now reviewing their feasibility statement.