Centennial sidesteps economic slowdown

CENTENNIAL Coal’s Mandalong longwall operation in the Newcastle Coalfield, New South Wales, is on track for record yearly production of 4.9 million tonnes as shares in the company surge on the back of growing export expectations.
Centennial sidesteps economic slowdown Centennial sidesteps economic slowdown Centennial sidesteps economic slowdown Centennial sidesteps economic slowdown Centennial sidesteps economic slowdown


Blair Price

Detailed in a well-received investor conference presentation, Australia’s largest independent coal producer revealed Mandalong would beat the 4.8Mt target for the financial year, while the mine is scheduled to begin exports in the last quarter of 2010.

For the mine’s export infrastructure, Centennial said road construction had started and the modifications to the coal handling plant were in the final design phase.

While the Angus Place longwall mine in NSW’s Western Coalfield had lagging production during the March quarter, Centennial said mining conditions had improved and longwall equipment issues were now largely resolved.

In contrast to reports of production cutbacks, which have become common this year, Centennial said its adjacent Springvale longwall and open cut operations had successfully moved onto a 24/7 roster, driving year-to-date output to 2.9Mt including export sales of 900,000 tonnes.

Despite early this year flagging a review and possible delay of its Awaba East longwall development in the Newcastle Coalfield because of the economic downturn, Centennial has reported the concept study is now complete for a proposed 4Mt per annum operation.

A prefeasibility study is due for the project in the first three months of 2010, while last year Centennial was expecting the mine to go into operation in 2012, however a Centennial spokesperson told International Longwall News this date has been pushed back slightly as the company is undertaking an extensive exploration drilling program with the results underpinning mine design and progress toward development.

Looking at its underground continuous miner operations, the company said Awaba’s mine life had been extended and its production sold entirely into export markets.

The miner said its Clarence underground coal mine had achieved record daily and monthly production in March, while the Charbon open cut and underground operation was improving its coal quality and had a life extension project underway.

Airly development

Construction at the upcoming Airly continuous miner operation in the Western Coalfield started in March on the rail loop, surface coal handling system and the power supply.

Centennial said detailed mine design was underway, mining equipment had been ordered and production was planned for 2010.

The mine is expected to yield 1.8Mtpa of export thermal coal.

Coal exports

While Centennial will have about 72% of its coal sales going to domestic power stations this financial year, it said it has had a significant level of enquiries from Chinese power companies.

Chinese exports were expected to decrease this year, the company said, with Australian and Indonesian exports to fill the void. China’s year-to-date thermal imports for the first three months of this year reached 3.59Mt, up 20% on the same period in 2008.

Shares in Centennial climbed 16c or 8.12% since yesterday to $2.13 this morning, well above its price of $1.71 before Anzac Day.