Gympie posts profit

Staff Reporter

Coal and gold producer Gympie Gold Ltd said both commodities made steady contributions to its $3.4 million after-tax operating profit for the half year to December 31, 1999, up on the previous corresponding year's $3 million interim result.

The company said subsidiary Southland Coal's Hunter Valley mine performed below expectations due to a clay band in the 3.5m seam section being mined and development rates slowing during the advance north through a major fault immediately south of the next longwall panel, SL2. However, while coal washery yields continued to be below budget, development rates in the SL2 panel itself had recently increased and continued to improve. Exploration of the planned SL2 and SL3 panels — by drilling, high-resolution seismic and initial roadway development — indicated coal seam thickness of 5-9m, excellent coal quality and a recoverable reserve of more than 2Mt per panel.

Gympie said its priorities for the second half of the current fiscal year were to complete extraction of the first longwall panel at Southland, SL1, by June, "notwithstanding seam conditions in the current zone (are) below expectation", and to prepare SL2 for start-up by July/August.

The company would also aim to lift sales volumes and its coal product range in the new Japanese fiscal year, starting April 1.