The strong result from Illawarra Coal – which includes the soon to be expanded Appin mine – contributed to BHP Billiton’s total 13% metallurgical coal increase for the financial year to 38Mt.
Illawarra Coal’s $US845 million Appin Area Number 9 project will maintain its production capacity with a replacement mining domain and capacity to produce 3.5Mtpa of metallurgical coal.
The project is on schedule and budget and is 44% complete.
Not to be outdone, BHP Billiton’s Queensland Coal production in the June 2013 quarter increased by 54% from the prior corresponding period to an annualised rate of 61Mt.
The Daunia and Broadmeadow Life Extension projects delivered first production during the 2013 financial year, ahead of schedule.
But a longwall move at Crinum and scheduled maintenance at Goonyella Riverside and Peak Downs will also impact production in the September 2013 quarter, the company said.
“This strong performance was underpinned by record annual production at both Peak Downs and South Walker Creek, and was achieved despite the indefinite closure of both Norwich Park and Gregory,” it said.
“The continued ramp up of Daunia and future commissioning of Caval Ridge will underpin an increase in the capacity of our Queensland Coal business to 66 million tonnes per annum by the end of the 2014 calendar year.”
Turning to thermal coal, BHP Billiton’s New South Wales Energy Coal division continues to outperform, with its RX1 project leading to record production for the 2013 financial year of 73Mt.
First coal was loaded from the Newcastle Third Port Stage 3 project (energy coal) during the June quarter.