BHP Billiton has announced record metallurgical coal production in the nine months to March 2014. Production of the steel-making ingredient increased by 24% to a record 33 million t, said the company, reflecting the successful ramp-up of Daunia and record production at all Queensland Coal operations.
Queensland Coal drives metallurgical coal increase
The company’s Queensland Coal operations recorded annualised production of 69 million t in the March 2014 quarter on the back of a “sustainable increase in truck and wash-plant utilisation rates supported an overall improvement in performance”.
In New South Wales, Illawara Coal production rose 4% on the December 2013 quarter as output from the Dendrobium mine recovered from an extended outage.
Following the success at its Queensland operations, the company has increased its guidance for total metallurgical coal production to the end of the financial year (June 2014) and now expects to produce 43.5 million t.
The company also announced longwall moves at the Broadmeadow mine in Queensland and the Appin and West Cliff mines in New South Wales in the June 2014 quarter.
Energy coal remains unchanged
Energy coal production of 55 million t for the nine months ended March 2014 was broadly unchanged from the same period in the previous financial year. Record production at BHP Billiton’s New South Wales Energy Coal and Cerrejón assets was offset by reduced customer demand for our Navajo Coal product and lower production the company’s South African operations.
The decline in production in South Africa “reflected the impact of adverse weather conditions on our operations and extended outages at both a local utility and the Richards Bay coal terminal,” said the company.
Total energy coal production guidance for the 2014 financial year remains unchanged at 73 million t.
Written by Jonathan Rowland
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