Wongawilli longwall lifts Gujarat

GUJARAT NRE Coking Coal more than doubled production during the June quarter compared to the same period a year ago while development work continues as the company aims for 6 million tonnes per annum by the 2014-15 financial year.
Wongawilli longwall lifts Gujarat Wongawilli longwall lifts Gujarat Wongawilli longwall lifts Gujarat Wongawilli longwall lifts Gujarat Wongawilli longwall lifts Gujarat

Image courtesy of Gujarat NRE Minerals.

Blair Price

Total production from its two mines near Wollongong reached 387,000 tonnes for the recent quarter, up 140% year-on-year.

The Wongawilli longwall operation produced the bulk of the output with 289,000t of run-of-mine production for the June quarter, while bord and pillar mining at NRE No.1 produced 81,000t of ROM coal and total development work resulted in 17,000t.

Gujarat was pleased with the performance of Wongawilli in block Longwall 11.

“Late in June the longwall entered a low stress area in conjunction with the need to mine through a pre-driven cross block roadway,” Gujarat said.

“Secondary support erected well in advance of the longwall face gave an excellent strata control in both the low stress area and the pre-driven roadway.”

Development work continued at Wongawilli for the Nebo longwall panels, with Gujarat mining through a fallen roadway in June without incident by “binding the fallen ground with cementatious products”

Gujarat managed to complete 312m of roadway in the Eyre roadways and repaired or upgraded ventilation in the area as it continued development to access the future Nebo panels.

Secondary support was also installed for future production at panel Longwall 19 for the colliery.

“An independent audit undertaken on the proposed Longwall 19 operation attests to the excellent standard of work being achieved,” Gujarat said.

“The ventilation plan for the operation of panel was finalised during the reporting period.”

Construction of the Wonga West rubber-tyred vehicle portal was completed during the recent quarter while work started up on the conveyor portal.

The company said tenders for stage one drift drivage were received and under review.

Work to install secondary support for new roadways over the top of old Wongawilli workings also started up during the quarter.

In June the company started construction of a new bathhouse to cater for a workforce of 250, along with an associated office complex.

Gujarat also started work on a power project to provide 11.75km of overhead power line and underground cable to the mine to replace the existing lower capacity lines.

Site construction works started a couple of weeks ago while the power project is expected to be completed by December.

Over to the nearby NRE No.1 colliery, the Wonga Mains development project is at the stage where the company can start drivage for possible longwall panels.

“Production rates were impacted by localised geological conditions associated with an overlying sill,” Gujarat said.

“As development moves away from the influence of this sill production rates are being optimised along with effective strata support to minimise the need to drill through the overlying sill.”

The company finished preparations for the initial drivage of Tail Gate 4 at the colliery while the main conveyor belt was commissioned along with a new 90-cubic-metre-per-second fan.

A roadheader started up in early June for work on the P and R drift project.

Gujarat said the project aims to provide access between the Bulli seam and the underlying Wongawilli seam and link in with the projected development of Wonga Mains.

The company also submitted the final draft of an Environmental Assessment for stage one development of the mine to the NSW government during the quarter.

Gujarat said approval of the stage one EA will allow the mine to operate for up to 5 years.

Within this time the second stage EA is expected to be submitted, which covers an 18-year mine life plus an expansion to 3Mtpa.

The big news during the quarter was Gujarat’s decision to award its NRE No.1 longwall equipment contract to Joy in April.

The longwall equipment is expected to be commissioned in 2011 with Gujarat planning for an initial face width of 145m, but also for an option to extend this to 390m in the next five years.

The $A90 million equipment contract also covered the purchase of a new longwall system to cover a 183m face at the Wongawilli colliery.

Gujarat also landed coking coal contracts of $US200 a tonne during the quarter, far more impressive than the $128/t agreements of 12 months ago.

Shares in the company are unchanged at A62c this morning.