In late August, MIM Holdings announced a $111 million operating profit for the year ended June, up from a $38.4 million loss in 1999.
Coal performed particularly well as the results of MIM's attack on costs flow through its Bowen Basin operations.
Oaky Creek Coal, a joint venture between MIM (75%), Sumitomo (15%) and Itochu (10%), improved on last years results with earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $47.3 million ($33.7 million in 1998-1999).
MIM's 75% owned Newlands-Collinsville-Abbot Point complex recorded an EBIT of $46.2 million ($54.8 million in 1998-1999).
Commenting on Newlands lower EBIT compared with the previous year, MIM said this reflected lower Australian dollar coal prices (down 9%) and substantially lower sales of coal from Collinsville as production was reduced in response to weak market conditions, offsetting lower production costs.
"Margins were maintained at Newlands despite the lower coal prices. Lower production costs resulted from a higher proportion of longwall coal production, productivity improvements and lower mining costs for the open cut operation."
Oaky Creek's June half EBIT was particularly impressive at $42.3 million compared with the December half of $5 million. The latter was due in part to recovery of the Oaky North longwall.
In commenting on current coal industry rationalisation, MIM managing director Nick Stump said there were opportunities as well.
"We were very active in the last round of rationalisation and we were not successful. We were very interested in the Bowen Basin. That doesn't mean the rationalisation has finished. One could suggest it has only just started. We are also looking at other geographic synergies. We have to look at where we have existing infrastructure."