Integra could face production suspension

PRODUCTION from Vale’s troubled Integra underground mine may be suspended if the company is denied an extension by the New South Wales planning department to continue trucking coal while it investigates economically feasible hauling methods.
Integra could face production suspension Integra could face production suspension Integra could face production suspension Integra could face production suspension Integra could face production suspension

Integra Underground, courtesy Vale.

Lou Caruana

The mine is seeking a modification to a condition that stipulates the use of an overland conveyor to transport coal from the underground surface facilities to the Camberwell Coal Handling and Preparation Plant.

“Studies have indicated that the overland conveyor required under Condition 48 is not economically viable and its construction would result in significant disruption to existing operations, with only minimal environmental benefits,” according to its environmental assessment.

“Extension to the timeframe stipulated in Condition 48 for the installation and construction of the conveyor will allow a robust assessment of, and consultation on, the potential impacts associated with its removal from the project approvals.”

It will also enable a detailed study of potential additional dust amelioration measures to be implemented in this area for underground coal haulage, the EA states.

“Further investigations into the potential construction and operation of the conveyor will also be continued during this period. The potential removal of this condition will be the subject of a separate application. If an extension to the timeframe is not granted and trucking is required to cease then production of coal from the underground operations would be suspended resulting in the loss of employment for underground workers.”

Integra, which consists of an open cut and underground mine, is waiting on the department to approve extensions of its north open cut mine and the placement of waste rock which also has the potential to suspend production.

A recent study of the volume of waste rock to be produced and the approved emplacement strategy for the north open cut identified a “significant deficiency in emplacement capacity”

While a shortâ€Âterm dumping strategy would address this deficiency, without resolution, the capacity constraints will significantly impact the efficient development of the pit, and ultimately, cause mine operations to cease, the EA states.