Yancoal explores expansion potential at NSW coal mines

Pure-play coal producer Yancoal has identified growth potential at its Moolarben and Mount Thorley Warkworth coal complexes in New South Wales.

Studies are underway to consider a potential underground mine at Mount Thorley Warkworth in the Hunter Valley, which could boost production by six million tonnes of run-of-mine (ROM) coal.

Yancoal is currently working towards producing a pre-feasibility study (PFS) for release in the first quarter of 2020.

The company also cited the potential to increase ROM production at Moolarben from 18 million tonnes a year to 24 million tonnes a year.

Moolarben contributed around 36 per cent of saleable coal production across both its open cut and underground operations to the March quarter. The mine contributed around 33 per cent to Yancoal’s record haul of 50 million saleable tonnes last year.

The expansion plans come with Yancoal’s announcement of a strong March quarter, with a production of 17.3 million tonnes of ROM coal (a nine per cent year-on-year boost) and 13 million tonnes of saleable coal (a two per cent YoY boost) at an average cost of $133 a tonne.

Yancoal keeps its 2019 production guidance of 35 million tonnes of saleable coal unchanged. The extreme weather which affected Queensland did not have a material impact on production at Yancoal’s operations in the region over the last quarter, nor did it cause any shipping delays to its Chinese customers, Yancoal said in its latest quarterly report.

The company’s Queensland operations include the Cameby Downs, Middlemount and Yarrabee mines.

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