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BHP achieves record metallurgical coal production in 2018

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Coal,

According to BHP Billiton’s (BHP) Operational Review for the year ended 30 June 2018, metallurgical coal production soared by 7% to a record figure of 43 million t. The report anticipates production to further increase to between 43 and 46 million t in the 2019 financial year.

BHP CEO, Andrew Mackenzie, said: “We have delivered a strong finish to the 2018 financial year with an 8% increase in annual production and record output at Western Australian Iron Ore, Queensland Coal and at our Spence copper mine in Chile. We further simplified the portfolio with the announced divestment of Cerro Colorado in Chile and Gregory Crinum in Australia and our investment in South Flank supports our ability to supply low cost, high quality products into Asia.”

“Good prices and our culture of continuous improvement give us positive momentum into the 2019 financial year.”

At Queensland Coal, record production for the 2018 financial year was supported by record stripping performance, increased truck hours and higher wash-plant utilisation from low-cost debottlenecking activities.

At Peak Downs, Saraji, Caval Ridge, South Walker Creek and Poitrel, production records were achieved. In the June 2018 quarter production increased by 16% from the previous quarter following improved operational conditions at Blackwater and Broadmeadow, increased feed rates at the Caval Ridge wash-plant and utilisation of additional wash-plant capacity at Poitrel following the purchase of the remaining 50% of the Red Mountain processing facility.

Coal production for energy usage remained flat at 29 million t for the 2018 financial year. Production is expected to remain largely unchanged at approximately 28 - 29 million t in the 2019 financial year.

New South Wales Energy coal production increased by 2%, supported by record production and sales volumes during the June 2018 quarter from improved stripping performance, utilisation of raw coal inventory build from the prior quarter and additional bypass coal. In the September 2018 quarter, increased stripping requirements are expected to result in lower production rates for the quarter compared to the remainder of the 2019 financial year.

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