Hunter Valley coal producer Cumnock Coal has posted an operating profit before tax and abnormals of $1.9 million for the year ended June 1999. Profit after tax and abnormals was $1.3 million. The comparable 1998 figures were losses of $6.5 million and $7.1 million, respectively.
"The improved result was achieved during a period of continuing low US dollar selling prices driven by weak global coal markets," said Cumnock chairman, Stanley Howard.
The improved performance reflected better productivity and unit cost reductions, which convinced Cumnock to shelve a planned expansion of its opencut operations in favour of commissioning an underground upgrade. Total raw coal production for the year was 6% higher while underground production increased 56% over the previous year.
"At the end of September production was 13,000 tonnes ahead of budget," Howard said. "Continued efforts at the mine site on cost reduction resulted in operational cost savings of $1,416,000 compared with budget. Increased production and reduced spending resulted in an FOB cash cost of $3.79 which was lower than budget."
Complex geotechnical problems encountered in September brought a planned longwall move forward. Cumnock said this would result in production being down on budget in the December quarter.