Bounty Mining says 21 workers have been laid off at Cook Colliery near Blackwater after rock falls at the coal mine last month forced changes to operations.
While there were no personal injuries and only minor damage to equipment, Bounty said the falls resulted in 23,000 tonnes (ROM) in lost production for October.
In addition, it expected an indirect loss of production of 150,000 tonnes ROM in FY20 and that about 135,000 tonnes of reserves would be lost as a result of necessary changes to mining operations.
“These changes to mining operations resulted from a review by an independent geotechnical expert of the circumstances that led to the rock falls, and reflect the objective of Bounty to always put safety first and avoid any future circumstances that could initiate similar events,” the company said in an announcement to the ASX today.
“There will be an adverse impact on the company’s financial position as a consequence.”
Bounty has taken the following steps:
1. Cease operation of one mining panel because of loss of reserves prepared for secondary extraction – consequently 21 workers have been laid off;
2. Review the scope of work and expedite the program for implementation of the place change method of mining, which is projected to substantially increase productivity;
3. Seek immediate supplementary funds to cover the operating losses resulting directly and indirectly from the adverse strata conditions revealed by the rock falls and to complete the work for place change panel
4. Evaluate alternatives to the capital intensive work needed for implementation of place change panel 3, while ensuring implementation as early as possible.
The company said it had started the pace change method of mining at Cook Colliery this week – a move that is expected to boost productivity.
“Commencement of place change mining in panel 1 is an important milestone for our company as we execute our mine plan to achieve a major step change in productivity,” chief executive officer Jim Griffin said.
“This step change in productivity is critical to the financial future of the company. The entire team at Cook is focused on successful transition to place change mining.”