Xstrata Coal has resumed operations at its Blakefield South mine, and expects to return to full production by mid-July.
Operations at Blakefield South mine ceased in January 2011 when an underground fire ignited behind the mine’s longwall. Mine personnel were unable to re-enter the mine until June 2011 to begin planning and rebuilding the longwall.
Longwall production resumed on May 15 this year, six weeks ahead of schedule.
Mine personnel redeployed at Beltana, West Wallsend and Ravensworth Underground Operations during the Blakefield South closure have been recalled. Newly-recruited staff are presently training at Xstrata Coal’s underground training facility at Baal Bone mine in western New South Wales.
“Our team at Blakefield South has done an amazing job to safely recover the mine after the fire, rebuild the longwall, and resume production ahead of an ambitious timetable,” Operations Manager, Mark Munro said. “We thank them for their commitment and resourcefulness.”
Blakefield South underground is part of Xstrata Coal’s Bulga Complex, which also includes an open cut mine and a coal handling and preparation plant.
Blakefield South produces approximately 10 million tonnes of semi soft coking and thermal coal each year for export, primarily to Japan.
Adapted from a press release by David Bizley
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