Longwaller back on the job
Wednesday 11 May 2016
AFTER nine months off-line, longwall mining has recommenced at Queensland’s oldest underground mine - Cook Colliery South of Blackwater.
The existing Cook Colliery operation is a board and pillar (continuous mining) operation with an output of 600,000 tonnes per annum, but the mine's owners Caledon Resources wants to expand production by introducing a longwall mining system into the Argo Seam.
In late 2014, longwall mining commenced at the site, however the mines age and geology have presented all sorts of technical challenges for longwall mining.
While pleased to be producing coal again, Caledon CEO Peter Trout says there is lots of work still to do.
“Like everyone else our focus is getting more productive,” he told Shift Miner.
“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.”
In line with a return to production at the mine, Caledon has finalised a new leadership team for its operations.
While the company is yet to announce who's been assigned to the various roles within their operations, they have confirmed that Mark Filtness started at the mine last week as the new General Manager.
Mr Filtness is well known in Central Queensland from his previous role as site General Manager and SSE at BMA’s Broadmeadow longwall operations.
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 in light of the significant coal price changes that have occurred since they first prepared it more than five years ago.
However despite a return to mining at Cook - they have ruled out meeting their 3.5 million tonnes of contracted port and rail deliveries anytime soon, and remained bearish on the short-term prospects for coal prices.
“We are seeing an uptick in the coal market, but I think it’s unlikely to be sustained throughout the remainder of this year,” Mr Trout said.
“The recent rally of the spot price was driven by shortages due to wet weather and maintenance, but ultimately demand for steel continues to be soft reflecting the global economy.”Caledon is 100% owned by the Chinese state-owned investment group Guangdong Rising Assets Management (GRAM), who acquired Caledon in August 2011.
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