South32 resumes production at Appin mine

Credit: South32

South32 has restarted production at the Appin coal mine in New South Wales following a an operational review to improve performance.

The company said a review into the Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operating systems and processes had concluded and it had completed remedial action to recommence production.

It restarted production from Longwall 707 on Friday last week and plans to operate a single longwall at Appin for the remainder of the 2018 financial year.

Production at Longwall 707 is expected to be completed during the June 2018 quarter. South32 will then launch production at Longwall 902.

South32 chief executive officer Graham Kerr said the company completed a review of the operating systems and processes to address unacceptable levels of performance at Appin.

“Longwall utilisation rates of 30-40 per cent are significantly below industry benchmark levels and as opportunity exists for us to sustainably improve productivity in order to maximise the value of this high quality, long life resource,” Kerr said.

“While unit operating costs and profitability will be significantly impacted by a lower rate of production in financial year 2018, a measured ramp-up of activity at the Appin mine will allow us to reset the operation’s culture, re-establish minimum performance criteria and drive productivity towards a more acceptable level.”

South32’s Illawarra Metallurgical Coal division produced 819,000 tonnes of coal during the September 2017 quarter.

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