In 2003, some 26 longwall mines produced 72.930 million tonnes of run of mine (ROM) coal, including development coal. Last year 34 mines accounted for total output of 81Mt. Eight mines also closed in 2002, leaving 26 mines operating at the start of 2003.
Two mines finished mining this year: Cumnock and South Bulga with the long-term future of Southland, which was forced to close after a Christmas 2003 mine fire, uncertain. This leaves 24 active longwall mines in Australia.
Seventeen mines in NSW produced a total of 40.292MtROM coal (excluding South Bulga which finished longwall mining in February 2003) and nine Queensland mines produced 32.637Mt.
The top four mines (all Queensland operations) were Xtrata’s Newlands mine with 4.933Mt, up 6% on 2002, (4.502Mt longwall coal); Anglo Coal’s Moranbah North with 4.719Mt, up 20%, (4.460Mt longwall); Rio Tinto’s Kestrel with 4.679Mt, down 19% (4.255Mt longwall); and BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance mine Crinum with 4.527Mt, a drop of 7.6% (4.287Mt longwall).
Anglo Coal’s NSW located Dartbrook is ranked number five for the first time ever with an amazing 149% jump in production to 3.834Mt (3.212Mt longwall coal).
Full figures and more analysis will appear in the March 2004 edition of Australia’s Longwalls, due on March 24.