According to Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s Mine Matters newsletter, the mine has commenced a feasibility study into different longwall possibilities for the “best configuration of equipment and longwall width for the remaining 150 million tonnes of coal in the mining lease”
Kestrel extension project manager Greg Nieuwenhuis told the Mine Matters early results from the study had been “encouraging” for a wider option, in order to achieve higher productivity and assist in achieving development metres.
The central Queensland mine, located 350 kilometres south-west of Mackay, extracts the 2.9m - 3.2m German Creek seam achieving 4.45 million tonnes per annum. The mine expects to produce 5.6Mt raw coal in 2006.
Kestrel began mining its 300-series block in 2004 where it has been able to deliver better quality at 85% coking coal as opposed to the 50% coking coal previously mined in the Kestrel 200-series panels.
Current blocks are 250m wide and 3,186-3,579m long. The longwall system comprises of a DBT Electra EL 1000 shearer and 292 Joy Mining Machinery 2-leg chock shields.
Study results for the 400-series blocks will be reviewed by Rio Tinto and joint venture partners Mitsui next year.