Aquila expects return to full production after floods impact

Despite its quarterly coal production being significantly impacted by the unforeseen wild Queensland weather, Aquila Resources expects its mine to reach capacity by the end of the year.

In its quarterly report released yesterday, the miner reported production of 364 828 tonnes of saleable coal at its Isaac Plains operation during the quarter.

On a full year basis, saleable coal production fell 23 per cent.

"The mining operation at Isaac Plains continued to be affected by pit recovery operations throughout the quarter, which resulted in below budget overburden movement and coal production," the statement said.

The miner joined several other companies when it went into force majeure as a result of the Queensland floods.

It now says those declarations have been lifted on all shipments and normal shipments will resume, with the mine able to return to its $2.8 million annual production capacity in the next quarter.

Aquila is currently at loggerheads with Brazil mining company Vale over the rights to remove coal from the site.

About 400 jobs are in the balance as the two companies continue to argue about a marketing agreement, causing the mine’s stockpiles to reach near capacity.

The coal stockpile at the Isaac Plains mine has been building since November as the dispute between about how separate coal shipments can be made from the mine fail to reach a conclusion.

The argument has led to both companies unable to ship the coal, threatening hundreds of jobs.

Aquila has begun legal action against Vale to recover the cost of lost shipments, but said in the statement its decrease in sales in the quarter was the result of the weather.

"Coal sales from the mine for the quarter were 280,728 tonnes in total, well down on budget and only 53 per cent of sales for the corresponding period due to reduced production," it said, adding that it was “caused mainly by adverse weather and recovery from flooded pits and, to a lesser degree, due to interruption caused by the lifting dispute with Vale."

Image: Aquila Resources

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