South32 restarts production at Appin mine in NSW

16 October 2017 (Last Updated October 26th, 2017 08:03)

Australian exploration company South32 has resumed production at the Appin mine in New South Wales (NSW).

Australian exploration company South32 has resumed production at the Appin mine in New South Wales (NSW).

The development comes after the company completed a review into Illawarra Metallurgical Coal’s operating systems and processes.

The company also noted that remedial action has been completed at Appin in order to safely and sustainably restart production.

Last month, the miner undertook a staged ramp-up of activity at the mine.

South32 CEO Graham Kerr said: “We have completed a detailed review of Illawarra Metallurgical Coal’s operating systems and processes to address the unacceptable levels of performance that have been achieved as the Appin Area 9 project ramped-up to capacity.

“Longwall utilisation rates of 30% to 40% are significantly below industry benchmark levels and an opportunity exists for us to sustainably improve productivity in order to maximise the value of this high-quality, long-life resource.”

“An opportunity exists for us to sustainably improve productivity in order to maximise the value of this high-quality, long-life resource.”

The production recommenced at Longwall 707 and the company intends to operate a single longwall at the mine in line with the prescribed ramp-up conditions.

The strategy to operate a single longwall will continue for the remainder of FY18, before a two longwall configuration is adopted in the December quarter of next year.

According to the company, Longwall 707 is likely to be completed during the June quarter of next year.

Following its completion, production at Longwall 902 is expected to be taken up.

Kerr further added: “While unit operating costs and profitability will be significantly impacted by a lower rate of production in FY18, a measured ramp-up of activity at the Appin mine will allow us to reset the operation’s culture, re-establish minimum performance criteria and drive productivity towards a more acceptable level.”