Anglo to place Aquila under care and maintenance

THE pain in Queensland’s Bowen Basin continues, with Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal placing its Aquila mine under care and maintenance from July 30.
Anglo to place Aquila under care and maintenance Anglo to place Aquila under care and maintenance Anglo to place Aquila under care and maintenance Anglo to place Aquila under care and maintenance Anglo to place Aquila under care and maintenance

A conveyor belt transporting coal at an Anglo Coal operation. Couresty Vismedia.

Lou Caruana

Chief executive Seamus French said Anglo American would work with all affected personnel at the operation over the coming weeks to explore potential redeployment opportunities and discuss redundancy options.

Troubled narrow-seam contractor Bounty Mining operates its only remaining contract for Anglo American at Aquila and was achieving record development rates at the mine.

“Our client has informed us today that it has completed a review of Aquila operations in response to declining commodity prices generally and metallurgical coal prices in particular,” Bounty said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the outlook remains difficult for the foreseeable future and as a result, Bounty Mining’s contract will not be extended at the expiry of its term of July 30, 2013, and the Aquila operation will be put into care and maintenance.

“The board of Bounty is reviewing its options for alternate work.”

French said based on the current outlook with low coal prices forecast for the remainder of the year, Anglo American had taken the decision to place the Aquila mine under care and maintenance.

“We continuously review our operational margins and since early last year, we have taken out two million tonnes of high-cost production capacity as part of this review,” he said.

“The closure of Aquila is the next step in this process. Aquila is a bord-and-pillar operation producing around 0.5 million tonnes of premium hard coking coal per year.

“Over the next month-and-a-half, operations will begin to ramp down and work will be carried out to place Aquila mine under care and maintenance from late July, in accordance with mine safety requirements.”

Bounty announced in February it had managed to increase its half-yearly net profit by 35 times despite a 6% fall in revenue.

The net profit for the six months to December was $494,000 compared to $14,000 in the previous corresponding period.

Bounty was achieving above-target development metres at Aquila and was seeking to put financial problems behind it and work towards relisting on the Australian Securities Exchange.

The company secured the Aquila contract in July after Anglo indicated that it would put the Bundoora mine on care and maintenance.

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