Claassen, a 21-year veteran of mines in Australia and South Africa, will need every bit of his experience and expertise to handle the unique geotechnical challenges at Carborough Downs.
Claassen, most recently a senior mining engineer with Vale, was a ventilation and gas drainage engineer at Centennial Coal in New South Wales for more than three years.
He was briefly a contractor with Australian Shaft Drilling after being a development superintendent at Xstrata’s Ulan mine in NSW.
Claassen was an operations engineer at Anglo Coal’s Moranbah North mine in Queensland for more than three years and prior to that he held various roles at Sasol in South Africa, beginning in 1990.
Carborough Downs is yet to ramp up to its nominal annual production capacity of 4.8 million tonnes per annum run of mine since it was commissioned in 2009.
The mining area is known to host geotechnical challenges and Vale’s 5.5Mtpa ROM Ellensfield longwall project is even based on using Carborough Downs’ coal handling and processing plant.
According to data supplied by Coal Services, Carborough Downs hit total ROM production of 1.96Mt for the 2010-11 financial year, which was a 1.5% improvement from the previous year but still far off the 4.8Mtpa goal.