Severe geological conditions in the underground operations prompted Cumnock Coal Limited, majority owned by Xstrata to adopt a new interim mine plan in September 2002. Since then, a drilling programme has been completed to assess the long-term viability of the mine plan. The Company expects to complete its analyse of the results shortly.
Reporting on the December quarter, Cumnock Coal Limited said in the three months ended December 2002 the longwall produced 403,954t while production for the 12 month period totalled 2.017Mt.
Five days of production were lost in the three month period due to industrial action, which lowered total run-of-mine underground coal by 4% compared with the prior corresponding period. Workers were protesting redundancies brought about by the introduction of the new interim mine plan which has reduced manning requirements.
Mining meanwhile commenced in the Open Cut in November with first coal being extracted in December.
Total underground coal mined for the twelve months ended 31 December 2002 was 6% higher than the prior corresponding period, with saleable production also up 1%. Washery yield was down by 3% due to the poorer quality of feed material, which in turn reflected the more difficult mining conditions.