Net profit for 2003 fell by 69% to A$4.1 million compared to A$13.4 million in 2002. Run of mine production was 1.95 million tonnes and saleable coal production was 1.2 million tonnes.
Austral directors said the main factors impacting performance was the 12.5% reduction in coking coal prices for the 2002-03 fiscal year and the strengthening value of the Australian dollar.
Austral said the impact of an adverse geological structure on longwall panels 20 and 21 reduced development performance and delayed longwall start-up in both panels.
Performance was also shaped by slower than anticipated longwall production due to geologically influenced stresses on the longwall face.
Austral directors hoped to put 2003 problems behind them, promising a marked turnaround in 2004 performance.
“The positive market for coking coal is already reflected in high price increases for the company’s products and the start up of the new longwall in Tahmoor North which is expected to substantially lift production,” said Austral.