Macarthur rides PCI demand

WITH traditional customers back onboard Macarthur Coal has clawed its way back to boom output levels, reaching its second-highest quarterly sales in the December quarter.
Macarthur rides PCI demand Macarthur rides PCI demand Macarthur rides PCI demand Macarthur rides PCI demand Macarthur rides PCI demand

Coal stockpile at Moorvale. Image courtesy of Macarthur Coal

Angie Tomlinson

The company sold 1.45 million tonnes of coal in the quarter, 86% of which was low-volatile pulverised coal injection coal.

Sales to traditional customers increased 74% and Macarthur expects this trend to continue into the second half of this calendar year.

Queensland mine Coppabella increased production by 7% to 660,000t, while the Moorvale mine climbed 18% to 610,000Mt.

Macarthur expects to see increasing tightness in the metallurgical coal market as demand improves globally, and specifically in China.

Despite increasing demand, the company expects third-quarter sales to be down due to low opening stocks and possible disruptions due to weather and congestion in the Goonyella coal chain.

During the quarter Macarthur made its first shipment of Middlemount trial wash coal.

Construction of the coal handling and preparation plant at the site started in October and is expected to be finished by the 2010 September quarter.

A rail loop and water supply line, to be designed and developed by John Holland and GHD, is expected to be completed in the second half of 2011.

As previously announced, Macarthur has been forced to push back shipments from Middlemount to the 2011 financial year due to lack of progress in obtaining toll arrangements for temporary water and rail infrastructure.

The company is continuing with its off-market takeover of Gloucester Coal, the acquisition of Noble Group’s interest in Middlemount and the purchase of a majority stake in Donaldson Coal.

Macarthur is also progressing a deal to acquire Citic Resources’ interest in its operation assets and intends to terminate Citic’s marketing rights to China and India.

The producer will focus exploration activities on the Wilunga and West Rolleston projects this year with drill rigs expected to return to the areas next month after a break over Christmas.

It expects December 2009 half-year profits of $A37-42 million and full-year 2010 financial year sales of 4.8-5Mt.

Macarthur shares were trading down 0.38% mid-morning today at $10.36.

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