Raspadskaya mine operates four coalfaces for first time since 2010

Russian coking coal producer Raspadskaya has opened up a new coalface with reserves of 2.8 million tonnes at its main mine in Western Siberia, the company said on Thursday November 6.

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“For the first time since 2010, the Raspadskaya mine is now operating with four coalfaces at a time,” ceo Sergey Stepanov said.

The miner exports more than half of the coking coal it produces, with 85% of export volumes going to the Asia-Pacific region as of the third quarter of 2014.

Raspadskaya, 82%-controlled by Russian steelmaker Evraz, suffered a deadly methane gas blast at the main mine in May 2010. The explosion resulted in the long-term closure of three of four working coalfaces at the mine.

The producer recovered to its pre-accident output and export levels only last year. Its raw coal output stood at 7.82 million tonnes in 2013.

“Commitment to safety issues is key to maintaining the achieved [level of] results,” Stepanov said.

In 2014, the company expected its coal production to exceed 10 million tonnes. Next year, Raspadskaya plans to add another 1.5 million tonnes to the output after a successful launch of new coalfaces at its main mine in Western Siberia, also called Raspadskaya.

The producer has been already operating three other coalfaces opened in 2014 at the main mine – with the reserves of 2.7 million tonnes, 1.5 million tonnes and 428,000 tonnes, respectively.

Another coalface with the reserves of 2.5 million tonnes, which was opened in late 2012, had been depleted by July this year. So Raspadskaya had still been operating only three coalfaces recently, it told Steel First on November 7.