Tahmoor produces record tonnage

AUSTRAL Coal has reported a record first half production figure of 1.23 million tonnes from its Tahmoor mine in NSW.

Staff Reporter

The first six monthÂ’s performance is a 55% increase on the 793,000 tonnes ROM coal produced for the corresponding period last year. The mineÂ’s production for the June 2002 quarter of 602,000t was up 29% from the 465,000t coal for the corresponding period last year.

Managing Director Ugo Cario said the result was particularly pleasing as record production had been delivered from longwall panel 19 where the coal seam is at its thinnest in the Tahmoor lease.

Mining of panel 19 has been successfully extended 200 metres yielding an additional 160,000t ROM above expectations. Panel 19 was now close to being fully extracted.

Cario said that record tonnage of 874,000 of coal had been sold during the first half 2002, despite closure of the main loader at Port Kembla Coal Terminal for five weeks.

The longwall changeover to Panel 20 will be carried out during July/August during which time commissioning of the new 3.6km north-west conveyor belt will take place. Installation of the 4,000 tonnes per hour belt is on schedule and near completion.

In other news, the company said details of the coal preparation plant upgrade have been finalised and approved. The specification and contractual arrangements for a new longwall are nearing completion.

During the quarter Australia raised $9 million in new equity through the issue of more than 20 million shares at 45 cents each to existing shareholders under a Share Purchase Plan. A net $30 million will be contributed to the funding of the Tahmoor North expansion from the recently completed share placement and the Share Purchase Plan.

The company has also established a number of facilities with a syndicate of banks including $18 million cash advance, $2 million guarantee facility, US$55 million foreign currency hedge facility and US$7.5 million coal sale facility.

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