Xstrata ramps up Aussie coking coal production

STRONG performances from Xstrata Coal’s Oaky Creek mining complex in Queensland’s Bowen Basin helped lift the company’s coking coal production by 73% to 3.8 million tonnes for the recent half year compared to the previous six months.
Xstrata ramps up Aussie coking coal production Xstrata ramps up Aussie coking coal production Xstrata ramps up Aussie coking coal production Xstrata ramps up Aussie coking coal production Xstrata ramps up Aussie coking coal production

Underground at Xstrata's Oaky No.1 mine.

Blair Price

Xstrata’s Oaky No.1 longwall mine was not fully operational in the latter half of 2009 as the company was quick to wind down production earlier in the year during the worst of the global steel market slump.

But Xstrata’s Oaky Creek North longwall mine also set national longwall production records in August – hitting run-of-mine output of 1.19Mt for the month.

Xstrata noted that thermal and semi-soft coking coal production for the recent half was generally in line with the performance of the previous half.

Total thermal coal produced from its Australian mines reached 17.4Mt in six months to the end of June – 7% lower than the previous half as flooding at the Rolleston open cut mine in Queensland during cyclone season resulted in the loss of about 2Mt of production.

But semi-soft coking output increased 50% to 3.9Mt for the recent half compared to the previous six-month period as Xstrata sought to take advantage of better prices for the commodity.

Xstrata’s thermal coal production in South Africa reached 8.2Mt in the recent half, down 16% from the previous half on the back of a planned shutdown of the Southstock open cut which exhausted its reserves, along with industrial action at the Tavistock operation and at logistics provider Transnet.

The Americas division of Xstrata Coal produced 5.3Mt in the recent half, slightly down by 100,000t on the previous six months.

Blakefield South

The Blakefield South longwall mine in New South Wales, designed to replace the nearby Beltana mine, started cutting coal in June and is expected to ramp up to full capacity this quarter.

The mine is targeting 4Mt per annum of thermal coal production.

ILN plans to release an update on Blakefield South in the coming weeks.

Xstrata is also continuing to ramp up its Goedgevonden greenfield open cut mine in South Africa to 12Mtpa of ROM coal output.

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