Australian Mining Prospect Award Winners: Coal Mine of the Year – Moranbah North, Anglo American

For the second year in a row an Anglo American mine has taken out the Coal Mine of the Year Award at the 10th annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

This time Moranbah North mine received the top honour for a complete turnaround in its performance within the space of 18 months.

The catalyst for the complete operations review and subsequent turnaround was a fall of ground in the conveyor drift, which caused significant production constraints.

The results identified that mine planning, people management systems and processes were not the best fit for purpose.

Anglo American took action to change its culture and bring new innovations that slashed its injury rate, and in turn saw its CHPP plant achieve six years LTI free.

Jim-Canning.jpgAccepting the Coal Mine of the Year Award, General Manager Jim Canning said he was absolutely delighted Moranbah North had been recognised by industry peers, telling the room of 300 people from across Australia that the award was the result of a lot of hard work from a committed team of people.

“We’re very very proud, it’s all about a team effort at Moranbah North, and as general manager I am very happy,” Canning said.

"It is a true honour to receive this award, which belongs to the fantastic group of people who were determined to turn Moranbah North into the safe and productive operation it is today.

"Moranbah North is now achieving what many thought wasn't possible – week upon week of 100 longwall cutting hours and the best safety record we have ever seen.”

The judges said Moranbah North came out on top because of a turnaround experienced on site where management successfully implemented a culture change.

“The viewpoint was the Moranbah North organisation under Anglo American was an asset that was being poorly managed,” Canning said.

“Anglo American made a strategic decision to change the management team out; they decided that we needed a strong management team to develop a culture and behavioural change.

“It’s very important that you have a good working relationship culture but when you’ve got a bias towards the workforce managing the mine rather than the management it becomes very difficult.”

Canning explained that throughout 2013 the site achieved significant safety improvements, record production rates, and best practice longwall performance.

"We are currently sitting at eight weeks in a row of consecutive 100 hour plus weeks and we know we can continue to keep this up and reach great heights in the future,” he said.

"I couldn't be happier to accept this award and after a delivering record production in the first half of 2013, we are now on track to delivering our most productive and safe year in our 15 year history.”

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Anglo American’s Met Coal Chief Executive Officer Seamus French congratulated Head of Underground Operations Glen Britton, Jim Canning and the Moranbah North team on their "well deserved" awards.

"A fantastic effort by everyone involved – Moranbah North is now delivering safe, world-leading longwall performance, showing us what is possible at our existing undergrounds and setting us up for the future Grosvenor operation," French said.

Last year the company’s Capcoal open cut operation received the Coal mine of the Year Award.

Canning said looking ahead Moranbah North is aiming to maintain its drive.

 “This prize tonight is the ultimate mark; it’s a benchmark for tomorrow’s performance,” he said.

And already that goal is becoming a reality, Canning explained.

According to Anglo American in early May 2013 the Moranbah North reached 125 cutting hours in one week to produce 245000 tonnes of hard coking coal, the best week of production ever experienced at the mine.

 “We are presently breaking our own production records, safety records and cost effectiveness,” he said.

The company added that "Moranbah North has gone from strength to strength and is now on track to delivering its most productive and safe year in its 15 year history”.

 “Yes we’ve had to make some difficult decisions, downsizing the workforce last year but the benefits, profits and shall we say advancements from that are now benefiting this year’s performance.

“The workforce at this moment in time is producing coal.”