Xstrata’s Australian thermal coal operations produced 49.8 million tonnes of thermal and semi-soft coal in 2011, a 12% increase on the previous year, primarily due to the successful commissioning of the Mangoola open cut mine ahead of schedule and on budget in February, it said.
“The positive impact of additional volumes from Mangoola partly offset the flooding at the beginning of the year in Queensland and in New South Wales, the temporary suspension of operations at the Blakefield South mine due to an underground fire and interruptions to the Ulan longwall as a result of significant underground water, all of which occurred in the first quarter,” the company said.
“In the third quarter, production from the Ulan longwall had fully recovered and we recommenced development at Blakefield South.”
The expansion of the Newlands underground thermal coal operation in Queensland also contributed to the record thermal coal production figure.
Xstrata maintained total coking coal production volumes for the year at 7.6Mt, a similar level to 2010, as a result of the rapid recovery from flooding in Queensland during the first quarter.
Globally it produced 85.3Mt of coal on a consolidated basis in 2011, an increase of 7% compared to 2010.
Production from its South African thermal coal operations fell by 3% due to industrial action and the impact of its ongoing strategy to transition operations from underground mines to three large and more efficient open cut complexes.
Cerrejon, its joint venture operation in Colombia, achieved record production, 7% higher than 2010, when excessive rainfall impacted production.