BHP Billiton results

THE first results from the newly merged entity show good results for coal for the quarter ended June 2001.

Staff Reporter

Coking Coal production during the period was 48% higher than the corresponding quarter last year and 14% up on the March 2001 quarter. This is due to the acquisition of QCT and higher production from the Blackwater, Goonyella and Riverside mines.

Metallurgical coal production totaled 37.1Mt for the year ended June 2001, with quarterly production amounting to 10.8Mt.

Thermal Coal production during the period was in line with the corresponding quarter last year and the March 2001 quarter, reflecting the acquisition of Colombian coal assets CDC, in September 2000 (33.3% interest), and CZN in November 2000 (16.6% interest). This was offset, in part, by reduced production in South Africa following the sale of Glisa Colliery and Matla Coal Mines during the June 2001 quarter.

Total thermal production for the year ended June 2001 was 92.8Mt, 61Mt of which was produced by the Ingwe operations in South Africa. Thermal production for the quarter ended June was 22.8Mt, with Ingwe contributing 16Mt of this tonnage.

The integration of the South Blackwater Mine and the existing Blackwater Mine will expand production to 13.5mtpa of product coal sales per year by the end of financial 2002. A total of $130 million will be spent over 12 months and will include a fleet of 300t rear dump trucks. Site works have commenced and detailed design is underway for a new industrial facility. Planning is also underway for relocation of a dragline from the South Blackwater mine to the Blackwater mining area in August 2001 with commissioning scheduled for October 2001.

At the Dendrobium project (Illawarra) feasibility studies are largely complete for the development of an underground longwall mine. The project’s Environmental Impact Statement and Species Impact Statement have been submitted to NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning with the public exhibition period completed in June. Work to date is on schedule and within budget allocations.

At the San Juan underground mine in the United States, development mining continued and all major equipment has been received or ordered. During the quarter the surface facilities contractor completed the earthworks at the main portal, coal load out and ventilation shaft areas, began pouring conveyor foundations and continued highwall stabilisation activities. The service boreholes work was completed and ventilation shaft sinking commenced. The project will be developed at a cost of US$148 million and full production at a rate of 5.9Mtpa, is expected by late 2002.

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