Whitehaven growth defies softening coal markets

Image: Whitehaven Coal

Whitehaven Coal has beaten its production guidance for the 2019 financial year on the back of strong performance at its New South Wales mines.

The company registered run-of-mine (ROM) production of 23.2 million tonnes, exceeding its guidance of 21.8–22.8 million tonnes.

Whitehaven produced higher than its ROM coal guidance at both the Narrabri and Gunnedah open cut operations with 6.4 and 5.1 million tonnes, respectively.

The longwall at Narrabri successfully mined through its large fault during the June quarter, according to Whitehaven, and resumed normal production rates after emerging from the fault zone.

Whitehaven also delivered record full year ROM coal production at Maules Creek, where it experienced a seven per cent increase on the same period last year with 11.7 million tonnes.

The company reported saleable coal production of 5.2 million tonnes, up nine per cent on the corresponding period last year amid “softening thermal coal markets”.

“It’s pleasing to see a respectable production result for the quarter and year, particularly in respect of Narrabri which demonstrated a strong return to form,” Whitehaven managing director Paul Flynn said.

“We also progressed along the approvals pathways for both Vickery and Winchester South, together with developments at our existing assets, very much reflecting our status as the true growth player in the Australian seaborne market.”

Whitehaven plans to extend its open cut mining operations at Vickery, with approval anticipated early next year. The project will create 500 jobs during construction and around 450 jobs during operations.

The proposed Winchester South development has also achieved a coordinated project status from the Queensland Coordinator-General, paving the way for eight million tonnes of coal to be produced every year for roughly 30 years.

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