Change-outs affect Centennial quarter

COAL production for Centennial Coal Company dropped 2% for the September quarter to 3.6 million tonnes, affected by two longwall change-outs and production woes at the Newstan operation.
Change-outs affect Centennial quarter Change-outs affect Centennial quarter Change-outs affect Centennial quarter Change-outs affect Centennial quarter Change-outs affect Centennial quarter

Centennial's Mandalong longwall

Staff Reporter

Sales for the quarter were up 3% to 3.3Mt, thanks to contributions from the Mandalong longwall coming into production and the Tahmoor operation, acquired in April.

Both of these operations underwent longwall change-outs during the quarter and for Mandalong this was the mine’s first change-out. The second longwall went into production in September.

The company said roadway development for maingate 3 had improved 14% over maingate 2 and was on plan for next year.

Total reserves for the Mandalong operation have increased by 80%, from 58.7Mt to 106.5Mt, following incorporation of an adjoining resource area and reassessment of the long-term mine design.

The Newstan mine continued to experience difficult roof conditions in the current longwall block but was expected to be back in normal production by the end of November, Centennial said.

Newstan was continuing to make slow progress through the remaining 15-20m of the faulted area and was expected to produce 2.4Mt for the 2006 financial year.

With the introduction of a new, more powerful AFC and a new approach to managing faulted zones, the company expects the mine to return to normal production levels in subsequent blocks.

The Springvale longwall mine returned a record quarter, producing 959,000t, with the wider 305m panels and the recently upgraded armoured face conveyor starting to pay dividends.

The mine’s next relocation is in January, which will see resumption of mining in the first of the new longer blocks. At 3.6km long and 305m wide these panels contain about 5Mt of coal.

The Angus Place operation is on schedule with its longwall relocation despite some difficulties on the maingate as production slowed towards the end of the block. Change-over has started.

Centennial continued work on the Anvil Hill project, conducting slim core drilling within the initial 10-year mining zone. A mining contractor to carry out earth moving at the operation is to be selected early next year.

The company also announced that a comparison of its own lost-time injury frequency rate with industry-wide safety statistics showed Centennial’s rate had improved and was equal to the NSW underground coal industry average. In addition, the September quarter continues an improvement trend and is the second lowest on record.

The total recordable injury frequency rate also improved and is at historic lows. The company emphasised its commitment to safety and said a re-launch of safety initiatives was planned for next year.

Despite the production difficulties, the company expects ROM production under management to be about 19.5Mt for the full year.

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