Stanmore Coal has announced the commencement of highwall operations at its Isaac Plains coal mine.
The contract has been awarded to UGM Highwall Mining, with the highwall operations expected to provide a short term, low cost, increase in production from the disused S2 pit in the southern part of the mine.
The contract runs over five months with a ROMproduction target of 70,000 tonnes of coal per month. It has an overall target of more than 300,000 tonnes, in addition to the existing open cut operation.
The highwall zones are geographically separate from the other open cut sites in the north. They were also designed not to interfere with future access to the underground resources which is being investigated as a potential bord and pillar operation.
The coking coal produced will be first supplied to existing customers in Asia with any surplus given to new customers.
Nick Jorss, managing director of Stanmore, said, “Highwall mining is an attractive option for Stanmore at Isaac Plains given the potential to produce low cost, low impact incremental tonnes of coking coal to be sold to existing and new customers.”
“The additional coal is expected to be produced at an FOB (free on board) cost which is around 20 per cent lower than the current open cut cost, given the largely fixed nature of the infrastructure costs which are already covered by open cut mining operations.”
The Isaac Plains mine reopened in April this year after being put into care and maintenance in 2014 due to low coal prices. First coal at the operation was produced in April, indicating promising prospects for QLD’s resources sector.