Integra shines for Vale

AN improved operational performance due to a new longwall at Vale’s Integra mine in New South Wales during the September quarter has offset the weaker production at its Carborough Downs and Moatize mines.
Integra shines for Vale Integra shines for Vale Integra shines for Vale Integra shines for Vale Integra shines for Vale

Integra Underground, courtesy Vale.

Lou Caruana

Total coal output in the three months to September maintained the record production level reached in the second quarter at 2.4 million tonnes.

The open cut mine at Integra is a medium-size operation, occupying almost 1500 hectares in total.

The mine – which started operations in 1991 – is a multi-seam operation utilising the truck-and-shovel method of mining.

In terms of production, in 2013 the site forecasts approximately 2Mtpa run of mine coal and 1.4Mtpa of product coal.

The site is expected to continue producing until 2019, with further potential for extension of the mine life beyond that timeframe.

The Integra underground mine is a longwall operation that started mining in 1999. With a coal seam that ranges in height from 1.9 to 2.5m, the site anticipates 2.8Mtpa run of mine coal and 1.5Mtpa of product coal in 2013.

Future mining in the Hebden seam will see production at the Integra underground site continue through to 2024.

In the nine months to September 2013, coal production for Vale’s entire coal operations reached 6.5Mt, an increase of 26.8% in relation to the same period last year, which was influenced by the ramp-up of Moatize in and the recovery in the performance of the Australian mines.

In the third quarter, Carborough Downs, which is a 100% metallurgical coal underground mining operation, had its production impacted by a longwall move that began in mid-July and ended in late August.

The ramp-up of Moatize, in Mozambique, is ongoing and will accelerate once the limitations of railway and port are addressed and allow for full utilisation of its first phase nominal capacity of 11Mtpa.

Coal shipments totalled 1.845Mt in third quarter, slightly lower than 1.85Mt in the second quarter.

Metallurgical coal shipments continued to reach record figures, with 1.73Mt recorded for the third quarter.

Thermal coal volumes fell to 114,000t from the 136,000t in the previous quarter.

Revenue from sales of coal products was $US211 million ($A223.35 million), 170% lower than the $254 million in 2Q13, mainly due to lower sales prices of metallurgical coal.

Revenues from metallurgical coal sales of $200 million were 16.7% below the $240 million in 2Q13.

The decrease was mainly due to lower sales prices – average realised price of $115.54/t versus $139.62 in 2Q13 – which was only slightly offset by the increase in sales volumes.

Thermal coal revenues decreased to $11 million in 3Q13 from $14 million in the previous quarter, due to the decrease in sales volumes and prices – average sales price of $96.49/t against $103.49 in 2Q13.

In 3Q13, coal costs were $254 million, net of depreciation charges, in line with the previous quarter, $257 million.

Excluding the effect of lower volumes and exchange rates, costs were up by $13 million, mainly due to higher cost of materials.

Coal expenses were reduced to $47 million in 3Q13 against $57 million in the previous quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA for the coal business was minus $51 million in 3Q13 against minus $69 million in the previous quarter.