Gujarat on track with NRE No. 1

MINING of longwall gateroads at Gujarat’s NRE No. 1 Colliery Wongawilli seam in New South Wales is targeted for completion in December 2011, with longwall production to commence soon after, according to the company’s annual report.
Gujarat on track with NRE No. 1 Gujarat on track with NRE No. 1 Gujarat on track with NRE No. 1 Gujarat on track with NRE No. 1 Gujarat on track with NRE No. 1

The NRE No. 1 colliery.

Lou Caruana

When installed and fully operational the Wongawilli roadways will provide a new conveyor roadway and a new transport roadway along with direct access to Wongawilli coal resources.

Three new roadways have been created – track road, rubber-tyred road and conveyor road. These roadways will also replace a number of old access roadways in the Bulli and Balgownie coal seams that are quite old and require continual maintenance and support to remain operational.

“The Wonga Mains Project commenced in January 2008 as a preparation for longwall extraction,” the company said.

“The construction of a new set of underground roadways in the Wongawilli coal seam is seen as a major development initiative at the NRE No.1 Colliery.

“Over the period of last two years the company had made a significant progress with the development of these three roadways and necessary drivages for longwall panels.”

NRE No.1’s P-R Drift project involves construction of a drift to provide direct access between the Bulli seam and the underlying Wongawilli seam and link in with the projected development of the Wonga Mains.

When completed, the mine will have new access roadways (conveyor and transport roads) as well as a direct link to utilise existing ventilation and mine infrastructure.

The project made some good progress at the start of the financial year until June 2010, when the AM75 road-header was required to break up and load out higher strength rocks experienced.

Due to increased hardness of the lithology, an electro-hydraulic drill rig was introduced for shot firing to increase productivity. The project made some good progress in the last quarter and is near completion.

In April 2010, the company placed an order with Joy for the supply of a longwall system with an initial face width of 145 metres and an option for face extension of up to 390m in the next five years for the NRE No.1 mine.

The contract also includes purchase of a new 183m face longwall coal clearance system to upgrade the existing NRE Wongawilli mine longwall system in 2013.

The total value of the order, including the option for the additional 245m face width extension, is estimated to be around $90 million.

Building and fabrication of the longwall is largely completed and deliveries of all key components remain on schedule. The process of longwall “minibuild”, which began in May 2011, involves commissioning of key components of the longwall on surface for testing before final commissioning underground and extracting coal.

“Another essential part of commencing longwall operation at NRE No.1 Colliery is to upgrade the existing coal handling facility at Russell Vale site to handle up to 3Mtpa of coal to be produced from the mine in two to three years time,” the company said.

The project is now in the detailed design stage and the company is in the process of procuring long-lead items.

Stage 1 civil construction works are about to commence, to accommodate initial longwall production during the two-year ramp up period to 3Mtpa.

Gujarat produced 409,209 tonnes of run-of-mine coal from NRE No.1 Colliery last financial year. The production achieved was mainly from first workings/pillar extractions in the Bulli seam and development coal from the Wonga Mains Project. Extraction from the Bulli seam ceased from January 2011.