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Blakefield Sth recovery shot in the arm for Xstrata

XSTRATA Coal’s thermal and coking coal volumes were higher in the second quarter of 2012 than the first quarter as a result of the successful return to production at Blakefield South, Ulan open cut commencement and continued ramping up of the Ulan West box cut operations in New South Wales.

Lou Caruana
Blakefield Sth recovery shot in the arm for Xstrata

Blakefield South restarted mine production in Q2 six weeks ahead of schedule after a fire in January 2011 disabled the mine for 18 months.

Australian thermal coal quarterly production increased by 12% or 2.7 million tonnes (including semi-soft volumes) year-on-year.

Improved performance at its Rolleston and Ulan underground operations, a full six-month contribution from Mangoola which was commissioned in 2011 and the commencement of Ulan open cut and Ulan West box cut operations were also big contributors to the higher thermal coal production output.

The full impact of improved production volumes was partially offset by end of mine life closures in 2011 at the Beltana, Ravensworth West and Baal Bone operations in NSW.

Australian coking coal production increased by 6% to 3.3Mt in the first six months of 2012, reflecting the longwall moves at coking coal operations in the first half of the previous year.

The Newlands and Oaky Creek operations in Queensland benefited from fewer production interruptions in Q2 after the impacts of wet weather and longwall moves in Q1.

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