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Floods don't slow Curragh expansion

WESFARMERS is on track to deliver a $286 million expansion of its Curragh mine in central Queensland to 8.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal by early next year despite flood-related setbacks over the last six months.

Lou Caruana
Floods don't slow Curragh expansion

But the company has reported continued production issues in the current quarter due to groundwater inflow issues associated with the floods and is forecasting “significant adverse cost impacts” from wet weather and subsequent lower volumes for the current financial half year.

A conveyor belt failure in May has compounded low wall failures at the mine.

Metallurgical coal sales are now predicted at 5.1 – 5.4 million tonnes for the 2011financial year.

As part of its expansion strategy at Curragh, Wesfarmers has rail and export capacity contracted at 8.5Mtpa and has forward-sold the additional production to existing and new long term customers.

A two-week shutdown of Curragh’s existing coal handling and preparation plant to tie in new plant was completed in February.

A feasibility study has begun with mining and CHPP studies on the potential to expand Curragh to 10Mtpa metallurgical exports from FY2014, which should create the potential for an additional dragline.

Wesfarmers is also re-evaluating remaining reserves at Curragh/Curragh East and started drilling on its Curragh West deposit.

The company is planning to complete exploration by the third quarter of this year and have its feasibility study ready by the fourth quarter.

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