Solid Energy harnesses Aussie talent

SOLID Energy has been struggling to resolve production and ventilation issues at some of its New Zealand mines and has been tapping into Australian expertise to help move forward.
Solid Energy harnesses Aussie talent Solid Energy harnesses Aussie talent Solid Energy harnesses Aussie talent Solid Energy harnesses Aussie talent Solid Energy harnesses Aussie talent

Solid Energy's Spring Creek underground mine.

Lou Caruana

Former Austar ventilation manager Borys Poborowski was appointed to the new role as national ventilation engineer for Solid Energy’s operations in New Zealand late last year to help address the company’s ventilation problems.

While Solid Energy’s coal production was up 24% to 1.16 million tonnes for the March quarter, the company still has production problems at its Spring Creek and Huntly complexes, which are expected to drag on overall production figures in coming quarters.

Production at Spring Creek will be reduced to 8000 tonnes per quarter – down from the March quarter’s 30,000t – as it develops roadways and panels for its next five-year extraction block in the Rapahoe sector.

Production at the Huntly East mine was down 7% for the March quarter to 8000t, due to harder mining conditions in some development and extraction blocks.

Huntly East underground mine underperformed in the last quarter of 2011 amid a temporary mine shutdown due to elevated methane levels, with production slipping 19% year-on-year.

The company said production at Huntly had been reducing over the last year with the mine producing only 74,000t in the period ending December 31.

The company attributed the fall in production to harder mining conditions in some of the extraction blocks.

The $30 million Huntly North ventilation shaft is currently forecast to be completed on budget but the completion date has been pushed back three months to March 2013.

According to Solid Energy, it is due to longer lead times for the ventilation fans and systems and delays in resourcing the shaft sinking work.

Blasting has just commenced on the development of the main shaft.

On November 11 last year, Solid Energy played down concerns of elevated methane levels at Huntly East.

Mining operations were suspended while it was degassed over several days.

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