This was in stark contrast with Anglo American’s overall underground operations which increased production by 11% to record their best-ever output.
“Given the current market conditions, Moranbah North plans to rectify these issues during the planned longwall move in the third quarter of 2015,” the company said.
Production at Anglo’s open cut operations rose by 5% mainly as a result of productivity improvements at Dawson following the implementation of a management operating system, as well as recovery in production at Callide following the flooding and rail closures in the first quarter of 2013.
Unfortunately the tragic death recently of a contractor at the Dawson mine may impact output from the mine for this quarter.
Foxleigh open cut mine recorded a record output, reflecting productivity improvements.
The Drayton South project, which is intended to extend the life of Drayton mine, has not yet received regulatory approval. A new development application and accompanying Environmental Impact Statement will be submitted early this year.
Metallurgical coal production in 2015 is expected to remain broadly flat at 20 million tonnes to 21Mt as the increase in output from Australian underground operations and Grosvenor development coal will be offset by the suspension of activity at Peace River Coal in Canada.
Australia and Canada recorded an underlying loss of $1 million. The loss was attributable to a 21% decrease in the average quarterly hard coking coal benchmark coal price, reducing underlying EBIT by $528 million.
The impact was offset by productivity improvements that resulted in a 12% increase in metallurgical coal production despite market related production curtailments, significant cost reductions across the Australian operations and favourable Australian dollar exchange-rate movements.
Cost savings across labour, contractors and maintenance, combined with productivity improvements, resulted in the lowest unit costs since 2010, with Australian export FOB cash unit costs reducing by 9% from 2013, in local currency terms.