While the official announcement of the awarding of the contract is yet to be made, ILN has received confirmation that German-owned equipment manufacturers DBT and Eickhoff have won the deal. DBT will supply the longwall systems, including roof supports, while Eickhoff will supply two SL300 shearers, one of which will be used as a standby shearer to speed up changeouts.
With delivery of the longwall scheduled for the end of the year, the OEMs will be under pressure to get the equipment made and shipped in time.
Oaky No 1 is part of the Oaky Creek complex (MIM 75%, Sumitomo 15%, Itochu 10%), which comprises the Oaky North longwall, Oaky No 1 longwall, and Alliance contract longwall operation. Oaky North produced 4.59Mt of raw coal in 2000 and Oaky Creek No 1 produced 3.80Mt ROM.
The new Oaky No 1 longwall will operate at a face width of 350m in a seam height of 1.6m to 2.5m. MIM has said in the past that given these parameters annual production of 5Mtpa is feasible.
In the past Oaky Creek’s production bottleneck has always been washery capacity, with a throughput limit of 10.5Mt ROM per annum. The washery is undergoing expansion at present, due for June completion, to lift this figure to around 13Mt ROM per annum.
While the Thiess/Namoi operation Alliance operation is scheduled to be completed mid 2002, MIM expects the remaining two mines to be capable of producing around 13Mt ROM. Both mines are understood to have plans to move to permanent seven day per week operations.
The equipment deal represents the fourth major shearer deal Eickhoff has won in recent months. Consol Energy’s Bailey mine in the US took delivery of an Eickhoff last year; the Matla shortwall in South Africa recently finalised its order for an Eickhoff shearer; and Cumnock in NSW is in the process of commissioning its new Eickhoff shearer.