This was marginally down on the 73Mt produced in 2003, with one less mine overall. In 2004 there were 24 operating longwall mines in Australia, with the newest mine – Centennial’s 3.5 million tonnes per annum Mandalong mine – starting up this January.
Xstrata Coal’s Beltana operation in New South Wales was the best performer with its best annual output to date of 6.156Mt, followed by the company’s Newlands Southern mine in Queensland with 5.130Mt.
Next best were Queensland mines BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) operation Crinum with 4.193Mt, Xstrata Coal’s Oaky Creek No 1 with 4.090Mt, the Rio Tinto Kestrel mine with 4.086Mt, and Xstrata’s Oaky North with 4.073Mt.
Geographically, 15 NSW mines produced 41.393Mt while nine Queensland mines accounted for 31.185Mt of the total.
By mid-2005, BHP Billiton's Dendrobium project in NSW should be up and running, followed in the third quarter by BMA’s new Broadmeadow mine in Queensland.