Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri underground mine in New South Wales, Australia, doubled over 2013. The increased low-ash thermal coal production helped the mining company increase earnings by 48% year-on-year to AU$ 50.8 million for H2 2013.
Attributable coal sales for Whitehaven in the six months to December 2013 were 4.3 million t, driven by a doubling of Narrabri mine production to 2 million t in the period and up 36% from the company’s total sales of 3.55 million t in H2 2012.
Whitehaven has a 70% stake in the Narrabri mine. The remaining 30% is equally shared between four joint venture parties including EDF Trading and South Korean companies Daewoo and Korea Resources Corp.
Revenue from coal sales was AU$ 402 million in the fiscal first half, up 43% year-on-year, Whitehaven said in a report.
In a company statement, Whitehaven Coal managing director Paul Flynn said: “The fundamentals of the business are now showing some very encouraging upside and we believe we have enhanced our resilience to volatility on coal prices."
Saleable production for the full fiscal year that will end in June 2014 is expected to stand at 10.7 million t on a 100% equity basis.
83% of Whitehaven’s coal sales was thermal coal, up from 81% a year previously. The remaining 17% of the coal production output was semi-soft metallurgical coal.
In a presentation that accompanied the company’s report, Whitehaven said that it had resolved an issue to do with the energy level of its Narrabri thermal coal product, and as a result had achieved sales prices in line with benchmark Newcastle 6300 kcal/kg GAR specification thermal coal.
Cash flow from the miner's operations was AU$ 78.3 million in the six-month period ended December, reversing a AU$ 100 million negative cash flow position in the year-ago period.
Production costs at Whitehaven, which operates several mines in the Gunnedah coal field in New South Wales, fell 10% year on year in the half-year period, mainly due to increased efficiency and greater use of its contracted rail and port capacity, the company said.
Take-or-pay charges for rail and port capacity used by the coal producer to ship its coal exports amounted to AU$ 1.55/t during the six months, down from AU$ 2.53/t in the year-ago period, Whitehaven said.
Whitehaven was banking on the underlying demand for Australian coal, particularly for higher grades of metallurgical and thermal coal, continue its trend upwards. According toe Flynn.
Maules Creek, Whitehaven's flagship development project for semi-soft coking, high-energy thermal coal and PCI coal was on schedule to produce its first mined coal in March 2015, said the company.
"We completed the expansion at Werris Creek, and started work on the new mine at Maules Creek where construction has been ramped up significantly since early January after we cleared the last legal and regulatory hurdles for the project," said Flynn.
Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/26022014/australian_coal_mine_doubles_production_568/