The company said it was progressing with the approval process at Donaldson Coal Holdings – which it purchased in July this year – to allow a change of mining methods from board and pillar to shortwall and longwall mining at the Tasman and Abel mines.
“Underground ROM production was impacted to some extent by mechanical issues and difficult strata conditions at the Abel mine, however, overall mining conditions at Tasman improved in the pillar and extraction panel during the quarter,” Gloucester Coal said.
Total sales for the quarter jumped to 627,000 tonnes, up from 535,000t from the previous corresponding quarter, while total coal output almost doubled to 934,000t compared to 451,000t at the same time last year.
Gloucester Coal said the boost in production was due to the company’s acquisitive activity over recent months, including its purchase of Donaldson.
The Donaldson operations, comprising the Donaldson open cut mine and the Abel and Tasman board and pillar mines, accounted for 415,000t of the company’s output for the quarter.
During the quarter, the Middlemount mine transported a total of 110,000t of coal to a third-party rail loadout facility and then shipped via the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal for export.
Gloucester’s 50% interest in the Bowen Basin-located mine is set to pay off, with enviromental approvals for increased production at Middlemount expected to be completed by the end of the 2011 financial year.
Meanwhile, production at the Gloucester Basin for the quarter was 449,000t, a slight dip on last year’s 451,000t record.
Gloucester said this was mainly due to restricted access to coal in the Clareval pit of the Gloucester Basin, which had to be used as a temorary water storage facility due to extreme wet weather in June and July.
Gloucester said the pit would continue to be impacted through to the end of October.