Record coal for Excel and Macarthur

BOTH Macarthur Coal and Excel Coal have achieved record production levels in 2005-06 despite heavy seasonal rains on Australia’s east coast.
Record coal for Excel and Macarthur Record coal for Excel and Macarthur Record coal for Excel and Macarthur Record coal for Excel and Macarthur Record coal for Excel and Macarthur

Coppabella coal preparation plant

Michael Vaughan

At Macarthur, record attributable sales of 1.99 million tonnes from the company’s Moorvale mine – a 17% increase on last year – boosted the company’s annual sales to 4.93Mt despite logistical hurdles.

Production at the company’s Coppabella mine in Queensland fell 12% to 2.94Mt in 2005-06 from the previous year. The fall in output was due to rain, a wall slip in March and poor overburden performance, according to Macarthur.

Excel Coal achieved record annual coal sales of 6.18Mt in 2005-06, up 29.2% on the previous year. The company said it expects to achieve its net profit target of $95-100 million in 2005-06.

At Excel’s Wambo mine in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, coal sales increased 41.8% to 3.92Mt, reflecting the ramp up of an opencut expansion at the operation.

The installation of a second production unit at Excel’s Chain Valley operation in NSW lifted sales up by 38.4% to 714,000t and sales rose marginally at the Metropolitan operation in NSW to 1.55Mt.

While having an impact on production at both companies, rain has ensured the dams at all operations are close to full capacity.

Macarthur says it is concerned expansion work at the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal will have an impact on production in early 2007, making it difficult for the company to achieve its output target of 4.5Mt for fiscal 2007.

The company fired a shot at the Queensland Management System used to determine access to ports in the state, saying it was concerned by the lack of flexibility in enabling unused allocation to be used by other users.

Both companies said the outlook for the coal market in the medium term remains positive.

Shares in Macarthur were off 14c (2.9%) at $4.71 and shares in Excel fell 3c (0.3%) to $8.71 in midday trade.

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