Second longwall on the cards at Grosvenor

ANGLO American is considering adding a second longwall to its proposed $US1.7 billion Grosvenor project as it seeks to maximise its exposure to the rich reserves of metallurgical coal around its Moranbah North mine.
Second longwall on the cards at Grosvenor Second longwall on the cards at Grosvenor Second longwall on the cards at Grosvenor Second longwall on the cards at Grosvenor Second longwall on the cards at Grosvenor

Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll

Lou Caruana

The company, which has announced a record $11.1 billion annual profit, is keen to invest in the project despite claims by Anglo chief executive Cynthia Carroll that Australia’s carbon tax would slash the value of its coal investments here by 30%.

“It does have a fairly significant impact, dropping our net present value of our investments by about 30 per cent,” she said last week.

“We continue to talk to the government about the position they have taken with respect to the carbon tax.”

The greenfield Grosvenor project, which was approved in December, is expected to produce 5 million tonnes per annum of metallurgical coal from its underground longwall operation over a projected life of 26 years and to benefit from operating costs in the lower half of the cost curve.

Grosvenor forms a major part of Anglo’s strategy of tripling production of metallurgical coal from its Australian assets by 2020, equivalent to a 12% compound annual growth rate, using a standard longwall and coal handling and preparation plant design model.

In its first phase of development, Grosvenor will consist of a single new underground longwall mine, targeting the same well-understood Goonyella Middle coal seam as Moranbah North, and will process its coal through the existing Moranbah North CHPP and train loading facilities.

A prefeasibility study for expansion by adding a second longwall at Grosvenor is under way.

Anglo also signalled that it expects to pay $A75 million in early April to move to developer status for a new coal terminal at Abbot Point in Queensland.

Anglo’s metallurgical coal division delivered it a record operating profit of $US1.2 billion, a 52% increase on 2010, primarily due to higher realised export selling prices, which offset the impact of rain on production and sales.

Thermal coal’s record operating profit of $1.2 billion was 73% higher than 2010, as a result of higher export thermal coal prices for both South African and Colombian coal and a strong rail performance in South Africa.

Metallurgical coal export production decreased by 9% compared to the prior year primarily as a result of heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding in late 2010 and in the first quarter of 2011, which resulted in force majeure declarations being in effect until June.

“However, the business made a strong recovery as a result of successful mitigation actions taken early in the year to recover lost volumes in the second half of the year,” the company said. “Thermal coal RSA [South Africa] export production performance remained flat year-on-year and a record production performance at Cerrejon [Colombia] led to a 7% increase in production compared to 2010.”

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