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Record Australian production provides boost for Xstrata

Oilfield Technology,

Xstrata has announced record production from its Australian thermal coal operations following the successful commissioning of the Mangoola mine, the expansion of the Newlands mine and a strong H2 performance. The company produced 85.3 million t in 2011, an increase of 7% on 2010. Australia accounted for 49.8 million t of thermal and semi-soft coal, a 12% increase on the previous year.


The positive impact from Mangoola partly offset the flooding at the beginning of the year in Queensland and New South Wales, the temporary suspension of operations at the Blakefield South mine due to an underground fire, and interruptions to the Ulan longwall as a result of significant underground water, all of which occurred in the Q1. Production from the Ulan longwall had fully recovered by Q3 and the company had recommenced development at Blakefield South.

Coking coal production volumes for the year were 7.6 million t, a similar level to 2010, as a result of the rapid recovery from flooding in Queensland during Q1.

South Africa

Production from the company’s South African thermal coal operations fell by 3% due to industrial action and the impact of Xstrata’s ongoing strategy to transition operations from underground mines to three large and more efficient open cut complexes.


Cerrejón, the company’s’ joint venture operation in Colombia, achieved record production, 7% higher than 2010, when excessive rainfall impacted production.

Project developments

Xstrata approved seven key projects representing total capital expenditure of US$ 2.6 billion during the year. These included the following coal projects:

  • The 7 million tpa Ulan opencast thermal coal project in Australia.
  • The Tweefontein optimisation coal project in South Africa, which will, subject to receipt of final environmental approvals, produce 4 million tpa of thermal coal.
  • Xstrata’s share of capital to expand the joint venture Cerrejón thermal coal operation in Colombia to 40 million tpa.

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