Coal production in the financial year to 30 June 2017 (FY2017) at Whitehaven’s Narrabri mine is expected to exceed the record 7.3 million t recorded in FY2016, according to the company’s latest results announcement.
“Production in FY2017 is expected to increase because only one longwall changeout it required,” the company said. “Mining is scheduled to transition to the first 400 m wide panel around the start of the fourth quarter of FY2017.”
Production at Maules Creek will continue to ramp up to an annualised rate of 10.5 million t of ROM coal in the second half of FY2017. The new mine is forecast to produce 9 million t of saleable coal this financial year.
Maules Creek produced 7.3 million t of saleable coal in FY2016 after commercial operations started on 1 July 2015. The mine cost AUS$701 million – AUS$66 million under the initial budget and more than six months ahead of schedule.
Including Whitehaven’s smaller opencast mines – Tarragwonga, Rocglen and Werris Creek – the company’s total FY2017 coal production is expected to be between 21 and 22 million t of saleable coal. The company’s growing production is underpinned by growing demand for its higher-quality coals – particular Narrabri and Maules Creek coals – from its customers in Asia.
“With the restricted availability of these [high-quality] coals in the seaborne market, Whitehaven is well placed to increase the premium it receves for its coals and to grow overall sales from both Maules Creek and Narrabri,” the company said. “It is positive to note that Whitehaven’s customers in Asia are adding more coal-fired power station capacity and are seeking increased tonnages of coal from Whitehaven.”
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.