Anglo American drops production forecast following roof fall incident

Underground longwall operations at Anglo American’s Moranbah North mine.

Anglo American has lowered its expectation for metallurgical coal production this year following the roof collapse incident at the Queensland-based Moranbah North mine in January.

The company has revised its forecast to 19–21 million tonnes from the previous estimation of 21–23 million tonnes in its year-end financial report ending December 2019.

Unit costs of around $70 per tonne are expected for the commodity, compared with an earlier estimate of around $65 per tonne.

The roof collapse at the Moranbah North underground mine in the Bowen Basin occurred on January 30 while Anglo was relocating the focus of the mining operations, known as a longwall move.

Though no workers were injured, the site had experienced fatal incidents before.

Anglo American endured a collision between a grader and a personnel carrier in the access drift at Moranbah North in February last year.

The company also had a spate of roof falls at Moranbah in 2007.

Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said the company had its best safety performance in 2019, with 17 per cent improvement in injury frequency rate compared with 2018.

“The safety of our people is always front of mind. It is tragic that we continue to experience serious safety incidents, in which four of our employees died at managed operations in 2019. And while 2019 was our best safety performance in our history, our progress strengthens our determination to deliver on our commitment to zero harm,” he said.

Moranbah North is 88 per cent owned by Anglo American, with the remaining 12 per cent owned by joint venture partners.

The mining operation employs more than 600 people, with Moranbah North estimated to have a mine life of 15 years.

Anglo American is also expecting to close the sale of its 12 per cent interest in another one of its metallurgical coal mines, the Grosvenor mine in Queensland this year.

The move will equalise Anglo American’s ownership across Moranbah and Grosvenor.

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