While heavy rainfall and coal infrastructure constraints impacted on production from Gloucester's operations in the Gloucester Basin of New South Wales, the company said full year coal sales remain on track to exceed 1.8 million tonnes.
Coking coal sales in the first quarter fell short of 2007 levels by 21%, at 169,000 tonnes, and export thermal coal fell 22%, from 370,000t in first quarter 2007 to 289,000t.
Total run of mine coal production fell short of first quarter 2007 by 4% and 15% below the December 2007 quarter as a result of constraints in the Hunter Valley Coal Chain.
Rain during the quarter cut production at Gloucester's biggest producer, the Duralie mine, by 10% to 377,000t. However, Bowens Road North managed a 47% increase in production, from 140,000t in the March quarter of 2007 to 206,000t in 2008.
Exploration and development expenditure in the March quarter reached $400,000, with a focus on acquiring land over prospective areas and converting resources into mineable reserves. Gloucester said it expected to release an updated JORC reserves and resources statement in the second quarter of 2008.
During the quarter Gloucester signed thermal coal contracts at prices in excess of $US100 per tonne, which it said were "indicative of a significant uplift in expected earnings" for the next fiscal year.
Shares in Gloucester Coal jumped 9.33% yesterday to a high of 11.02, but dropped off slightly this morning, trading at $10.35 per share mid-morning.