BHP Billiton metallurgical coal production increased by 1% for the 2016 financial year (FY2016) to 30 June, hitting a record 42.8 million t. The final quarter of FY2016 saw output grow 4% year on year and 17% on the previous month to 11.8 million t.
Production was underpinned by increased plant and equipment availability and utilisation, offsetting the completion of longwall mining at Crinum, a convergence event at the Broadmeadow mine and unfavourable weather conditions.
In the upcoming, the company is planning a longwall move at Broadmeadow and a wash plant shutdown at Saraji.
BHP metallurgical coal production is expected to hit 44 million t over the next financial year on the back of higher wash-plant and truck hours, which will offset the closure of the company’s Crinum mine and the divestment of BHP’s IndoMet Coal subsidiary.
The company also remains in the running to purchase Anglo American’s Queensland metallurgical coal assets at Moranbah North and Grosvenor, which could be easily integrated into BHP Billiton’s existing Queensland metallurgical coal mining infrastructure.
In June, the President of BHP Billiton’s Australia mining operations, Mike Henry, said the company was planning to boost its metallurgical coal volumes from the Bowen Basin, taking advantage of its low-cost mines and bullish outlook on metallurgical coal demand. Anglo American’s assets would fit well within the strategy.
“Even in today’s difficult environment, all of our operations remain case positive,” said Henry. “The development world needs steel; steel needs coking coal. We have the strongest resource position in the seaborne market.”
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.
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