A further 12-month mine plan for development and extraction through to February 2007 has now been approved. Under the new plan, coal extraction will commence in a previously developed area of the mine known as panel 2, and coal development and extraction will take place in panel 3.
“To date Spring Creek has substantially met or exceeded all the required performance targets and milestones which confirm it is operating safely and is credible and viable,” chief operating officer Barry Bragg said.
“It has also been really pleasing to note that daily production is regularly exceeding targets. As a result we now have the confidence to investigate further opportunities to extend the mine.”
Exploration drilling last year identified up to 2 million tonnes of predominantly thermal coal in very thick seams to the west of the mine’s southern working area, which could be extracted by hydraulic mining.
Mining of the area known as panel 6 could extend the mine’s life by up to five years and give the opportunity to fully assess the long-term viability of eventually extending the mine to the west, Solid Energy said.
About 15 drillholes will be put down in the next few months to assess the viability of development and coal extraction in panel 6. Solid Energy expects to make a decision on whether to proceed with panel 6 by the end of April 2006.