Australian coal mining company Whitehaven Coal (Whitehaven) has provided its production results for the June quarter.
Maules Creek mine
Maules Creek mine, which Whitehaven has a 75% stake in, achieved a new quarterly production record of 2.931 million t of ROM coal, with the mine operating at an annualised rate of 11.7 million t in the final quarter of the year.
ROM coal production for the full year was 10.953 million t, up 13% on the previous year. Saleable coal production for the year was 9.664 million t, 8% higher than the previous year. Coal sales for the year were 9.641 million t, up 9% on the previous year.
All of the equipment required for the mine to operate at its fully approved rate of 13 million tpa ROM coal is now on site. Whitehaven expects production to increase in FY2019 and Maules Creek is on track to achieve its approved limit of 13 million t ROM coal in FY20.
Metallurgical coal sales of 0.738 million t in the June quarter represented 31% of the total sales from the mine.
The ROM coal production results for the Narrabri mine, which Whitehaven has a 70% stake in, were 29% lower in the June quarter this year compared with the previous corresponding period.
Saleable coal production for the quarter was 0.878 million t and coal sales were 0.8 million t for the quarter.
Full year ROM coal production of 6.289 million t was also 13% lower than the previous year. Saleable coal production was 5.84 million t, 16% lower than the previous year and coal sales for the year were 5.76 million t.
ROM coal production at Narrabri in the June quarter and second half of FY2018 was impacted by a series of longwall face mechanical issues and by localised weighting events. These factors combined to slow the rate of longwall retreat and have delayed the commencement of the longwall changeout, previously scheduled to occur prior to the end of FY18. The changeout into longwall panel LW108, the next panel, will commence in July and longwall production is expected to recommence in September.
Gunnedah open cuts
According to Whitehaven, Gunnedah open cuts performed strongly in the June quarter and for the year. Production was higher than expected and costs are now inside the first quartile. Tarrawonga, Rocglen and Werris Creek and the rehabilitation programme at Sunnyside produced a total of 1.732 million t of ROM coal for the June quarter and 5.683 million t for the year.
Saleable coal production for the quarter was 1.443 million t and coal sales for the period were 1.295 million t. Saleable coal production for the full year was 5.377 million t and coal sales 5.322 million t higher by 12% and 16% respectively than the previous year.
Tarrawonga produced 0.601 million t of ROM coal in the quarter. Saleable coal production and coal sales for the quarter were 0.464 million t and 0.390 million t respectively. Whitehaven completed the acquisition of the 30% joint venture (JV) interest held by Idemitsu during the period which will lead to increased equity coal production of about 0.7 million t ROM coal from the mine for FY19.ROM coal production for the full year of 2.289 million t, was below the previous year but in line with budget. Saleable coal production and coal sales were 2.162 million t and 2.121 million t respectively, similar to the previous year.
The Rocglen mine reportedly produced 0.314 million t ROM coal for the quarter. Saleable coal production and coal sales for the quarter were 0.235 million t and 0.213 million t respectively. The mine is scheduled to cease ROM coal production at the end of FY19 when reserves are exhausted and will then undergo a rehabilitation programme for approximately 18 months.Werris Creek mine
Werris Creek produced 0.583 million t of ROM coal in the quarter. Saleable coal production and coal sales for the quarter were 0.632 million t and 0.616 million t respectively.
ROM coal production for the full year was 1.960 million t, 8% higher than the previous year. Saleable coal production and coal sales for the year were 2.091 million t and 2.112 million t respectively both over 25% higher than the previous year.
Coal mining in support of the mine closure Mining Operations Plan continued during the quarter with a total of 0.234 million t ROM coal produced. Mining at Sunnyside in support of the Sunnyside rehabilitation programme is expected to be completed at the end of FY2019.
Winchester South project
In the June quarter, Whitehaven completed the full acquisition of the Winchester South project. This project provides another growth option for the company in addition to the Vickery project. Whitehaven paid US$150 million to Rio Tinto (of the US$200 million payable) for its 75% interest in the Winchester South project during the quarter and on a prorata basis acquired and settled the purchase of the remaining 25% interest from the minority JV partner. Whitehaven will pay Rio Tinto the remaining US$50 million in the June quarter FY19.
Managing Director and CEO, Whitehaven Coal, Paul Flynn, commented:“With thermal coal pricing at seven year highs, and against the backdrop of continuing strong demand, Whitehaven remains on track for a record set of financials in FY18.”
“The period has seen a record production result for Maules Creek and continued strong performance of the Gunnedah open cuts, which has helped to achieve sales within the guidance range.”
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/mining/16072018/whitehaven-coal-shares-june-quarter-production-results/