Since Glencore announced in November 2016 that it was seeking to resume mining at Integra, a new management team has been preparing for the restart that involves mining one longwall block already formed and completing a second longwall block that had been partially developed by former owners Vale.
Recruitment of up to 275 people is underway with Delta SBD having received more than 300 applications in just three weeks for 122 operator and trades positions, the vast majority experienced black coal operators from local areas. An engineering review and overhaul of the mine’s diesel fleet, continuous miners, conveyors and longwall is in progress, as is design and planning for development work, longwall mining and gas drainage.
“We hope to receive approvals that will enable development work to start in the first quarter of the year with first coal from the longwall expected by mid-year,” Operations Manager Peter Ostermann said. Integra is expected to produce 1.3million t of high fluidity saleable metallurgical coal for 2017. Mr Ostermann said a drilling programme across the mine lease would also be initiated next month as part of a planning exercise that is looking at longer term options for Integra.
“Glencore have agreed to support our capital request for up to US$5 million to learn more about the resource that’s available on the combined lease footprint between the Integra, Glendell and Mt Owen operations,” he said.
“At the moment, we don’t have sufficient data to make informed decisions on the mine’s future beyond two longwalls and the exploration programme will give us the information to make those decisions should the market for coal remain positive.
“While market conditions will be a key factor in any decisions relating to Integra, we’ve made a decision to spend the dollars required to investigate all options.
“We are also applying to modify the mine plan to provide optionality should the drilling programme deliver positive results.”
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