For progress made in completely turning around its operation and driving not only productivity but also safety, Anglo American’s Moranbah North coal mine has been recognised as the 2015 Australian Mining’s Prospect Awards’ Coal Mine of the Year.
Anglo American Coal chief executive officer Seamus French said the win was an outstanding achievement for the mine and testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment to best practice by all across the mine.
“It is a tremendous honour for Moranbah North to receive this award and to be recognised by our industry peers,” French said.
“Moranbah North has been on a journey of continuous improvement in safety and production for a number of years, which has seen the mine achieve industry-leading safety performance and consistently high production of 6.8 to 6.9 million tonnes annually.”
The Moranbah North mine has been operating for close to two decades, and was opened in 1998, eventually commencing longwall operations in 2000.
The operation was a fairly average mine until a few years later, going in to be the first mine to win the Prospect Awards three times, also in 2009 and 2013.
In late 2011 the site was impacted by a groundfall in the conveyor drift, which caused significant production constraints.
However, the incident turned out to have a number of upsides, and served as the impetus for a change, which led to a major shift in the
way the mine was being operated.
In 2012 Anglo American implemented a complete operational restructure at Moranbah North to improve safety and diversify the site’s underground environment, taking the mine’s production output to the highest it has ever seen and recording the best safety results in its history.
Moranbah North carried out a massive drive on safety aimed at cutting injury rates and building resilience in safety.
Its current Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate is only .87 per 200,000 hours, which is around a 92 per cent reduction in the rate from its height in 2010, and well below the industry average of 4.35 per one million hours.
The Moranbah North coal mine has also achieved significant benchmarks at its coal handling and preparation plant and warehouse, and at time of publication has run eight years Lost Time Injury Free at its CHPP, and five years LTI free at its warehouse.
This high level of safety performance has been combined with better engineering and a drive for innovation.
This has led to a continual improvement in production output.
In 2013 the site recorded a run of mine production of 6.8 million tonnes with 1.25 longwall, which slipped to 6.4 million tonnes ROM with 1.75 longwall moves to a projected 6.9 million tonnes with an extended duration longwall move this year.
It is also running a number of industry initiatives and implementing new technology to drive not only efficiency, but to keep its workers safe.
These new initiatives include specifically designed shotcrete for strata support and reduced gas rib emissions and an aero-duster that applies stonedust mixture onto the ribs and roof, providing improved coverage whilst allowing inbye works to safely continue.
On the technology front, Anglo American’s Moranbah North mine is currently in the approvals phase for implementing an underground intrinsically safe tablet which would allow full time live access to safety management systems; engineering drawing for better understanding of development; real time monitoring of equipment; the pre-population of 90 per cent of reports from entered data; and creating and initiating new target action response plans immediately upon changes in data points being recorded.