Appin problems hurt South32 Sept quarter

METALLURGICAL coal production at South32’s Illawarra coal operations has plunged 66% in the September quarter to 494,000 tonnes after gas and geotechnical problems at its Appin colliery in New South Wales finally took their toll.
Appin problems hurt South32 Sept quarter Appin problems hurt South32 Sept quarter Appin problems hurt South32 Sept quarter Appin problems hurt South32 Sept quarter Appin problems hurt South32 Sept quarter

Underground at South32's Appin mine in NSW.

Lou Caruana

Total saleable met and thermal coal production for Illawarra Metallurgical Coal in the September quarter decreased 53% to 819,000t.

The Appin mine remained suspended during the September quarter and production only recommenced at Longwall 707 on October 13 following the completion of the necessary remedial action. 

South32 CEO Graham Kerr said the company started a measured ramp-up of longwall mining activity at the Appin mine that would allow it to “reset the operation’s culture, re-establish minimum performance criteria and drive productivity towards a more acceptable level”.

The company will operate a single longwall at the Appin mine across the remainder of FY18 as part of a staged ramp up of activities, before hopefully returning to a two longwall configuration in the December 2018 quarter.

“Longwall 707 is expected to be completed in the June 2018 quarter, at which point we will commence production at Longwall 902,” South32 said. 

While South32’s Dendrobium mine continued to perform well during the period, production was impacted by geological conditions, consistent with the mine plan. 

“The Dendrobium longwall is expected to pass through a fault zone in the December 2017 quarter and a longwall move is scheduled to commence at Dendrobium in the March 2018 quarter,” the company said.