Flooding stalls Newpac longwall

ALREADY under takeover pressure from miner New Hope Corporation, sole mine operator Resource Pacific has encountered flooding problems at its Newpac mine as it moves into its second longwall block.
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Newpac mine, Resource Pacific.

Staff Reporter

While development of the mine's third block has been boosted by the performance of new continuous miners, the installing of equipment at the second block's longwall face has been delayed.

The company said the delays arise from "limited flooding of installation roadways, which resulted from grouting failure on an aquifer crossed by a ventilation shaft".

It added that underground roadway repairs are underway and longwall production should ramp up in December.

Resource Pacific managing director Paul Jury said the delay was unfortunate but it did not affect the mine's prospects.

"While the delays from limited flooding and commissioning new equipment have been disappointing, they need to be considered in the context of the Newpac mine's long life that we are only now beginning to exploit," Jury said.

"We now have the equipment and operational procedures to ensure efficient transition between blocks in the future and, following the current rights issue, we will have financial strength to continue building Newpac into a world-class coal operation."

The company also announced the purchase of a fines circuit in its coal preparation plant after a successful trial period. Once in operation the circuit will boost coal production at least 3.24% to add about 97,000 tonnes of saleable coal a year.

Furthermore rail contracts and port allocations of 3Mtpa for the 2008 calendar year have been secured by the company. Coal contract discussions between the company and Japanese customers continued last week.