BHP output down

BHP Billiton’s metallurgical coal output fell during the September quarter as a result of several underperforming Queensland opencut mines and two New South Wales underground mines carrying out longwall changeouts.

Angie Tomlinson

Metallurgical coal production was 8.99 million tonnes, down 6% on the pervious quarter.

Lower production primarily reflected lower Queensland Coal output due to the depletion of reserves at Riverside, a scheduled dragline outage at Saraji and heavy rainfall at South Walker Creek.

Two Illawarra Coal mines also fell short, with longwall changeouts at both West Cliff and Appin mines.

Lower output was partially offset by increased production from Illawarra Coal following the commissioning of the Dendrobium longwall in April.

Energy coal production for the quarter was higher than the corresponding 2004 quarter, reflecting record quarterly production at New Mexico Coal (United States) due to favourable geological conditions at San Juan Coal and inventory building in preparation for a dragline outage at Navajo Coal.

In addition, record production at Cerrejon Coal (Colombia) reflected the ramp up of the recently expanded capacity.

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