BHP’s met coal production up 10% in September quarter

BHP Billiton reported a 10% increase in metallurgical coal production during the September quarter compared with the previous one.

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This resulted from a release of latent capacity across the supply chain.

Production also benefited from a reduction in industrial activity in Queensland, with no significant work stoppages experienced since July 2012.

The miner’s share of metallurgical coal production totalled 8.938 million tonnes during the quarter, down 4% year-on-year, BHP announced on Wednesday October 17.

BHP’s production from Queensland operations, including the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) and BHP Mitsui Coal, jumped by 20.5% from the previous quarter to 6.948 million tonnes.

BHP ceased production at the Norwich Park mine throughout the quarter, and will close the Gregory open-cut mine that produced 697,000 tonnes of metallurgical coal during the quarter, following a review of the company’s profitability.

In September, the miner also scrapped plans to build the Red Hill and Saraji East coking coal mines and a railway project.

Coking coal output from Illawarra project in New South Wales dropped by 15% from the June quarter to 1.99 million tonnes, which was attributable to the planned longwall move at the Appin mine.

A longwall move at the Dendrobium mine of Illawarra is expected to commence in the December quarter.

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