Narrabri longwall makes smooth transition to panel 2

WHITEHAVEN Coal has completed the first longwall change-out at its Narrabri mine safely, on time and on budget.
Narrabri longwall makes smooth transition to panel 2 Narrabri longwall makes smooth transition to panel 2 Narrabri longwall makes smooth transition to panel 2 Narrabri longwall makes smooth transition to panel 2 Narrabri longwall makes smooth transition to panel 2

The shearer at Whitehaven Coal's Narrabri longwall mine in New South Wales.

Lou Caruana

It started cutting coal in longwall panel 2 on Saturday on schedule, with the commissioning process running smoothly, managing director Paul Flynn said.

“Given we have a relatively new team and being our first longwall change-out, this is an outstanding achievement by the team at Narrabri,” he said.

“We were obviously well aware of the focus this changeout was getting from a shareholder and industry perspective, so we were very keen to ensure we met our schedule, and the team has done that handsomely.”

The change-out presented the opportunity to make a number of improvements to the longwall, including refinements to elevate the shearer body, change face-side skid shoes and the installation of the updated automation software.

Regular maintenance was also completed on the shearer and a number of roof supports.

Weekly production is expected to return to regular production levels over coming weeks at the New South Wales mine, according to Flynn.

Flynn said last month that the longwall at Narrabri “had turned a corner” after initial teething problems with the software system.

“There is renewed and improved engagement with the CAT longwall manufacturers,” he said.

“Major upgrades to the software are now complete with results expected in second longwall panel.”

Development rates achieved a record 1400m per month in May with three continuous miners, Flynn said.

“Significant planning and coordination work has been undertaken with the estimated timeframe of six weeks [for the change-out],” he said.

“Planned modifications on the surface to improve longwall performance in panel 2 include 19 chocks brought up to the surface and a re-design the skid-side shoes.

“The program is led by an experienced mine management team complemented with expert service providers.”

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