Anglo American’s Grosvenor mine has produced first coal ahead of schedule, raising its saleability prospects.
The mine, which was first approved for development at the end of 2011, delivered first coking coal from its longwall seven months ahead of schedule, and more than US$100 million below budget, according to Anglo American.
It now aims to ramp up to 3.2 million tonnes for 2016, with eventual plans to become a 7.5 million tonnes per annum operation.
According to Anglo it will have an all in sustaining unit cost of $110 per tonne (US$84 per tonne), a price point just below current Australian government estimates of an average US$91 per tonne for coking coal.
This delivery strengthens the mine’s attractiveness as a sales prospect, with Anglo’s head of Bulk Commodities Seamus French promoting the mine, which has been on the divestment table, along with the rest of its Australian assets, since February.
Fellow Queensland coal miner BMA has been posited as a buyer, as has private equity form Apollo Global Management, which is working with US coal company Xcoal Energy and Resources.
“While Grosvenor may not fit Anglo American’s strategic portfolio choices, its long term commercial attractiveness is beyond question,” he stated.
He went on to state “we have delivered the Grosvenor metallurgical coal project ahead of schedule and below budget, with an outstanding safety record and in line with our environmental obligations”.
“We began the installation of the longwall just 24 days before its first shear and production of coal – a truly remarkable feat and a result of the team’s technical expertise and the modular approach we have taken to our underground longwall operations in Australia.”