Contractors improve performance but not production in third quarter
Wednesday 03 May 2017
Despite the continued use of contractors, better weather and a revised mine plan at Curragh over most of the last three months, the mine's owners Wesfarmers say both coking and thermal coal production was down.
“Overburden removal for the quarter was 2.1 per cent higher than the previous quarter, driven by improved performance of the overburden removal fleet,” they said.
“Metallurgical coal production was in line with the previous quarter, and steaming coal production was 4.7 per cent lower than the previous quarter."
However, over the last 12 months, metallurgical coal production has still increased by 11.2 per cent to 8,326,000 tonnes, and steaming coal production is up by 10.8 percent to 3,612,000 tonnes.
Wesfarmers is yet to report on the final implications of Tropical Cyclone Debbie on coal production and sales.
In January, Wesfarmers said they were making “good progress” on plans to extend the life of Curragh beyond 2030, after receiving Commonwealth approval for some nearby mining lease applications.
Three years ago Wesfarmers paid Peabody $90 million for a Mining Development Licence (MDL) which they now want to convert to a Mining Lease which would allow them to start mining.
The area covered by the MDL contains about 250 million tonnes of mostly steelmaking coal, of which about 70 million tonnes is highly drilled and classified as proven and probable under JORC reporting rules.
Importantly for Wesfarmers, the MDL is located between the existing Curragh North and Curragh South mining operations, meaning the coal can be exploited without any new processing infrastructure.
Technically, Wesfarmers still has Curragh mine on the market.However, there hasn’t been any further speculation about interested buyers since Fortescue Metals Group said unsubstantiated claims that they had made an “indicative” bid of more than $1 billion for the mine were “incorrect” in February.