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Whitehaven reports strong lift in coal production

World Coal,

Whitehaven Coal Limited has reported a total saleable coal production for Q3 of 2.349 million t, a new company record and 44% higher than the 1.6 million t produced in same period last year.

The company reported strong coal production totalling 1.363 million t from the Narrabri mine, following the successful relocation and startup of longwall equipment in the second panel at the mine.

Managed run of mine (ROM) coal production was 2.7 million t in the quarter, a 39% increase from 1.9 million t in Q3 2012.

Narrabri mine
Longwall production at the Narrabri mine recommenced in July following completion of the longwall changeover form the first to the second panel. A blending strategy to resolve the low energy levels of the thermal coal from the mine was successful. The combination of blending crushed by-pass coal and washed thermal coal product has made a thermal coal product that fully meets the needs of the Newcastle benchmark specifications.

Maules Creek development
Whitehaven has continued to progress the Maules Creek project during Q3. The project delivery group has issued tenders for a number of the key work packages and is in the process of evaluating those tenders and packages. The process has confirmed that the capital cost of the project, estimated at US$ 767 million on a 100% basis will be met. First coal is expected during Q1 2015.

Safety and environment
Whitehaven’s open cut operations recorded two lost time injuries (LTIs) during the quarter. Although the Narrabri mine recorded its first LTI since October 2012 during Q3, overall safety performance has been good, with both its twelve-month rolling TFIFR and LTIFR significantly lower than the average for underground coal mines in New South Wales.

There were no environmental incidents reported at any of the company’s operations during the quarter.

Coal sales and market outlook
The benchmark price of Whitehaven’s metallurgical coal was between US$ 102/t and US$ 103/t in the third quarter and is expected to be about US$ 103/t in the final quarter of 2013.

The company said Japanese and Korean thermal coal demand continues to be steady, while in the Netherlands and South Africa, thermal coal prices have increased. Metallurgical coal prices have increased recently, reflecting the continued strong import demand from China.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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