Rains crimps Macarthur production target

MACARTHUR Coal has slashed its full year production target by almost 20% to 4.1 million tonnes because of the effect of the Queensland floods and stoppages caused by Cyclone Yasi.
Rains crimps Macarthur production target Rains crimps Macarthur production target Rains crimps Macarthur production target Rains crimps Macarthur production target Rains crimps Macarthur production target

Middlemount box cut.

Lou Caruana

The company, which declared force majeure to customers as a result of unseasonal heavy rain in the Bowen Basin on 3 December, said this arrangement with its customers remained in place.

Recovery continues, but a return to full production levels has been hampered by additional rainfall received from cyclones Anthony and Yasi, Macarthur Coal chief executive Nicole Hollows said.

“Our operations at both Coppabella and Moorvale have been disrupted by unseasonal heavy rains over the past three months; continuation of excessive wet weather has caused further delays to production through to February,” she said.

“Although we are anticipating more rainfall, should it remain at historical averages we are confident of progressively returning to normal production over the next few weeks. Water diversion structures, pit protection measures, dam levy work and onsite water management initiatives completed prior to the wet season have helped each site manage the impact of unseasonal rainfall on the operations and the environment.”

The company said the revised guidance remains subject to unexpected production disruptions due to any additional significant wet weather events.

Total production for Macarthur fell 24% year-on-year in the December quarter due to the severe wet weather in Queensland.

Saleable production reached 0.97Mt in the recent quarter, compared to 1.27Mt from the last three months of 2010.

Both the Coppabella and Moorvale mines had limited stockpiles before the wet season struck, as Central Queensland had been caught off-guard by abnormally high rainfall for the months of August and September.

A total of 956mm of rainfall struck the Coppabella mine during the recent quarter, hurting the mine’s key Johnson and Southern pits.

Pumps are continuing to remove the in-pit water.

Macarthur will release its 2010 second-half results next week and the company still expects $A138-143 million of net profit after tax for the recent half year.

Macarthur’s shares were down by 14c to $12.38 in morning trade.

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