Thermal coal from Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek operation achieved an 8% premium over the globalCOAL NEWC Index price in 1Q16. Maules Creek only began commercial operations last year; it produces high-energy, low-sulfur and low-ash thermal coal for the Asian export market.
According to the company’s quarterly report, Maules Creek coal achieved an average price of US$51.56 per tonne compared to US$50.46 per tonne average index price.
Whitehaven owns 75% of the mine with ICRA MC – an entity associated with Itochu Corp – holding a 15% stake and J-Power a 10% stake. The mine is located in the Gunnedah Basin of New South Wales, Australia.
The company also said that a number of new thermal coal buyers from Asia had visited Maules Creek and Whitehaven’s Narrabri mines and are trialing the coals. The company expects contracts to be executed with these new buyers this year.
Production ramp up at Maules Creek continued over the quarter with production reaching 1.057 million t of ROM coal and 1.97 million t of saleable coal. Production for FY16 is on track to hit 7.6 million t ROM coal and 7.4 million t saleable coal. Sales of Maules Creek coal were 2.066 million t.
The company has also ordered mining equipment to ramp up production further to 10.5 million tpy. This will arrive onsite in 1HFY17 (July – December 2016) and be operational by January 2017.
Edited by Jonathan Rowland