Ulan so close, but Beltana reigns supreme

JUST a measly 94,500 more tonnes and the Ulan mine would have toppled the long-reigning Beltana longwall as Australia’s top longwall producer.
Ulan so close, but Beltana reigns supreme Ulan so close, but Beltana reigns supreme Ulan so close, but Beltana reigns supreme Ulan so close, but Beltana reigns supreme Ulan so close, but Beltana reigns supreme


Angie Tomlinson

But alas, the status quo remains with Xstrata Coal’s Beltana longwall in top spot for 2008 with 6.4 million tonnes. Despite taking out top spot for the fifth consecutive year, the Hunter Valley mine’s output was down on 2007 when the operation produced 7.08Mt.

Ulan’s fat-face began to show dividends last year, notching up 6.3Mt – a significant improvement on the Xstrata mine’s 2007 performance of 3.74Mt.

The move of Ulan into second place bolstered the performance of New South Wales, with the table usually being dominated by Queensland operations.

Another Xstrata operation, Newlands Northern, slotted into third place with output of 5.68Mt, an improvement on 2007 when it produced 4.54Mt after struggling with geological issues.

Oaky Creek No. 1 was still able to grab fifth spot with 5.13Mt despite being put on care and maintenance during December. Xstrata closed the mine due to the sliding coking coal market, and in the process laid off 40 permanent staff and 190 contractors.

A non-Xstrata operation, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Crinum East mine, made it into the rankings at number six with 5.11Mt. The Central Queensland mine moved operations to its East section last year and must be seeing the benefits of retrofitted roof supports, a punch longwall and a much-improved conveyor system.

Back in NSW, Centennial Coal made its first appearance on the table with its high-performing Mandalong operation. The Hunter Valley mine produced 4.72Mt in 2008, up slightly on 4.06Mt in 2007.

Xstrata’s Oaky North mine fell from number three in 2007 to number eight this year with 4.35Mt.

Ninth spot went to Moranbah North with 4.34Mt. The Anglo Coal operation is currently gearing up for installation of a new high-capacity longwall which will boast the world’s biggest powered roof supports.

Rounding out the top ten was another Anglo operation, Grasstree, with 3.71Mt.

Highest development tonnage went to Ulan with 518,300t, followed by Ravensworth (formerly Newpac) with 472,800t and Moranbah North with 454,000t.

Total production from longwall mines in NSW was 57.5Mt and Queensland’s longwall mines produced 41.9Mt. Total production was 99.42Mt, up on 2007 when 92.47Mt was produced.

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