Xstrata has reported record coal production of 90.4 million t in 2012, a 7% increase on the previous year’s total. The rise comes on the back of the successful commissioning of a number of projects in Australia, productivity improvements at the company’s Columbian operations, and the move to large-scale, low-cost operations in South Africa.
Australian thermal coal
Thermal coal production from Xstrata’s Australian operations, including semi-soft production, was 53.2 million t. This 7% rise on 2011 comes after the restart of mining at the Blakefield South mine, the start of production at the Ravensworth North, Ulan West and Ulan opencast mines and the return to full production at the Rolleston mine after the floods of 2011.
The year also saw the closure of the Ravensworth West and Westside mines.
Australian metallurgical coal
It was not all positive news for Xstrata from Down Under. The company’s metallurgical coal production was down 9% on 2011, as engineering challenges at the new thin seam longwall at Oaky Creek No. 1 mine hit production.
South African thermal coal
The ramp up of the Goedgevonden mine and a full year’s production at the ATCOM East mine, as well as productivity improvements at the Impunzi and Tweefontein opencast mines, helped the company’s South African operations to a 16% rise in production on the previous year, to 18.7 million t.
Cerrejón thermal coal
Xstrata’s share of production from the Cerrejón joint venture in Colombia also increased 7% to reach 11.6 million t, mainly as a result of productivity improvements arising from pit resequencing and shorter haul distances.
The company also highlighted on two coal growth projects. The first stage of the 8 million tpa Ravensworth North coal mine was completed in 2012, with the second stage expansion of the existing coal preparation plant on schedule for completion this year. Meanwhile operations at the 1.5 million tpa Ulan opencast mine should reach full production this year.
Written by Jonathan Rowland.
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