Drop in coal output for Wesfarmers

Wesfarmers recorded a decrease in production at all three of its coal mines in the December 2009 quarter.

Wesfarmers yesterday released the production results for its coal mines during the December 2009 quarter, revealing drops in output for all three.

The diversified company has interests in the Curragh mine in Queensland, Premier in Western Australia and Bengalla in New South Wales.

The company’s overall coal production fell 8.67% from just under 3.9 million tonnes to 3.56 million tonnes.

The Curragh mine produced nearly 2.296 million tonnes of coal in the December quarter, which was down 1.4% on the previous quarter.

This included 1.75 million tonnes of metallurgical coal and 546,000 tonnes of steaming coal, which marked an increase of 2.3% and a decrease of 11.7% respectively.

The company also approved an expansion of the mines’ export capacity from 6.5 million up to 8.5 million in November.

The Premier mine produced 690,000 tonnes during the quarter, which was a 14% drop on the previous quarter.

According to Wesfarmers, this drop was due to lower coal demand from Verve Energy as a result of a plant upgrade at the Muja Power Station.

The Bengalla mine produced 574,000 tonnes of coal, which was a 2.2% drop in output from the previous quarter.

According to the company, operations were taking place in “a less productive section of the mining sequence.”

Wesfarmers is also carrying studies to determine the feasibility of increasing ROM production from 8.7 million tonnes to 10.7 million tonnes.

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