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Longwall panal widening on track at Narrabri

The project to widen the longwall face at Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri mine is on schedule and on budget, according to the company’s most recent quarterly report. The project will see the longwall face widened by 100 m to 400 m.

According to the company, components for the underground equipment are currently being manufactured in several countries, while surface works – including stockpile capacity extension and electrical upgrades – are progressing on schedule.

Mining of the newly widened panel – panel LW07 – is expected to start in the first half of the 2017 calendar year.

Production of saleable coal at Narrabri in 1Q16 was 2.127 million t – an 18% increase y/y and despite ROM coal production falling 6% to 2.056 million t on difficult ground conditions in a section of the LW105 longwall panel.

Production LW105 is expected to conclude in mid-May with longwall production forecast to restart in June. The mine remains on track to meet production guidance for FY16 of 6.6 – 6.8 million t ROM coal.

The company also said that the mine had hosted visits from a number of new thermal coal buyers from Asia, who were currently trialling coal from both Narrabri and its sister mine, Maules Creek. Contracts with these new buyers are expected to be concluded this calendar year.

Whitehaven owns a 70% stake in Narrabri with Japanese power company, J-Power, energy trading company, EDF Trading, and Upper Horn Investments, a subsidiary of Chinese power generator, Guangdong Yudean Group, owning 7.5% stakes. The remaining 7.5% is owned by Korean companies, Daewoo International Corp. and Korea Resources Corp.