Whitehaven’s Maules Creek mine helps lift coal sales

Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek mine is over 93 per cent complete, with the company already producing 1.1 million tonnes of coal at the project in the March quarter.

This helped push Whitehaven’s total coal sales to 3.741 million tonnes, a 64 per cent increase on the tonnes soles in the previous corresponding period.

Export sales comprised 0.565Mt of metallurgical coal and 3.163Mt of thermal coal with domestic sales making up the balance.

Whitehaven achieved an average price of US$87.15/t from sales of its metallurgical products in the March quarter.

The company expects the price for these products in the June quarter to be in the range of US$75/t to US$80/t.

During the March quarter, the benchmark Newcastle thermal coal index averaged US$65.82/t, a 3 per cent increase from the previous quarter.

Whitehaven achieved an average price for all its export thermal coal sales of US$65.37/t for the quarter.

With the construction of Maules Creek mine nearly complete, Whitehaven expects the operation to be declared commercial from the beginning of July.

Additional equipment commenced operations at the site in late February and production reached an annualised rate of 6.0Mt during March.

At the company’s Narrabri mine, a quarterly ROM coal production record of 2.18Mt was reached in the quarter.

Saleable coal production was 1.795Mt and coal sales were 1.643Mt for the quarter.

Whitehaven said strong production performance by the longwall in the current panel has resulted in an upgrade of the guidance provided to investors with the half year results. Narrabri is now forecast to produce between 7.0Mt and 7.2Mt ROM coal for FY2015.

At Tarrawonga mine, a change of roster has resulted in lower costs and stable production, Whitehaven said. Production from the mine was 0.534Mt ROM coal and 0.465Mt saleable coal for the quarter, up 43 per cent and down 7 per cent respectively on the previous corresponding quarter.

A similar restructure of the roster at Rocglen mine introduced during the quarter has resulted in reduced costs at the mine. While ROM coal production of 0.207Mt was 14 per cent lower than in the previous corresponding period it was in line with the current mine plan. Saleable coal production of 0.235Mt was 31 per cent higher than the previous corresponding quarter.

White haven said Werris Creek mine performed strongly during the quarter producing 0.661Mt ROM coal and 0.662Mt saleable coal for the period, up by 28 per cent and 10 per cent respectively from the previous corresponding quarter.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.