Beltana�s business focus

“IF WE don’t get our productivity where it should be, when prices normalise there will be some operations that won’t survive,” said Beltana operations manager Greg Pawley at last week’s Australian Longwall Mining Summit in Yeppoon, Queensland.
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The Beltana mine in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley is surrounded by some impressive scenery.

Angie Tomlinson

Pawley said longwall mines needed to start looking at their operations from a business perspective – just one element that has helped push Xstrata’s Beltana No. 1 mine to become the top producing Australian longwall mine.

Pawley said that just last week Beltana had achieved 42,000 tonnes and 78m in development in a 24-hour period.

He said Beltana consulted its workforce when the mine first looked at putting a business strategy together, to help develop its vision statement: “To be leaders in safety and environmental management within the Xstrata organisation and to be the lowest cost per tonne coal producer in NSW,” something Pawley believes can really influence workforce behaviour.

When implementing the business plan Beltana bought in some new blood to the mine and changed several roles. The contractor pool has now decreased from the majority of employees from 120 to around 20. It has also increased it manning levels across many areas.

Across the safety area Beltana rates as the highest ranking mine across all Xstrata divisions around the world, according to the company’s annual internal safety audit.

Beltana has achieved almost all of its 2005 targets and has now set loftier goals for 2006. Pawley told International Longwall News this year the mine’s workforce was aiming for one million tonnes per month off the longwall and 20,000t in a shift – a target they almost reached last year.

Many of Beltana’s milestones for 2006 are also centred around development – the mine is aiming for 450m development per week.