Higher prices, steady output
BHP pulls out all stops to keep production targets on track
Wednesday 25 January 2017
Despite using trucks to haul record coal tonnages mined at Peak Downs all the way to the Caval Ridge Coal Handling and Preparation Plant to be cleaned for export, overall production at Central Queensland BHP mines in the last half of the year was steady.
In its latest half year report, BHP said metallurgical coal production for the second half of the year increased by just one per cent to 21 million tonnes, meaning their forecast production for the year is unlikely to change from the current 44 million tonnes.
“Strong performances at Broadmeadow, Peak Downs, Saraji and Caval Ridge, underpinned by additional stripping and higher wash-plant utilisation, more than offset the completion of longwall mining at Crinum in the December 2015 quarter, adverse weather conditions in the September 2016 quarter and lower yield at South Walker Creek,” BHP said.
“Record production at Peak Downs was achieved during the December 2016 quarter with coal opportunistically trucked to Caval Ridge in order to utilise latent wash-plant capacity.”
According to BHP, the big reduction in coal supply from China late last year significantly boosted their average realised coal prices for the half year.Hard coking coal averaged $US179 which was 118 percent higher than it was in the same period in 2015. Weak coking coal was up 82 percent averaging $US122 a tonne, while thermal coal was up 51 percent to $US74 a tonne on average.