It could be three years before the North Goonyella Mine in the northern Bowen Basin is back to what owner Peabody calls, ‘meaningful’ production.
Peabody will also be reducing staff numbers on the mine north of Moranbah where operations were suspended after a fire late last year.
Peabody had identified a preferred pathway to resume production following a detailed three-month review process, said President of Peabody’s Australian Operations Marc Hathhorn
The company would not attempt to access the mine beyond Zone B due to the time, cost and regulatory approach required to ventilate and re-enter the rest of the mine, Mr Hawthorne said.
Instead Peabody would seek pre-approval from the Queensland Mines Inspectorate to ventilate Zone B from the surface using large bore holes drilled above ground, he said.
“If this approach is approved and successful, the company plans to re-enter Zone B and assess conditions with a target of developing the southern panels that contain approximately 20 million tons of high-quality hard coking coal,” he said.
“The above approach allows us to maximise the value of the high-quality coal at North Goonyella while reducing significant, ongoing costs which have mounted since the incident last year.
“… Peabody expects it could take three years or more to resume meaningful production. “
The company had made the very difficult decision to reduce its site employees significantly over the next couple of months as a result of this extended timeframe, Mr Hathhorn said.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our North Goonyella team and their families for their hard work, dedication and loyalty over the past year in helping us try to get this great mine back into production,” Mr Hathhorn said.
“We will try to redeploy as many of our people as possible to our other Australian mines and we commit to working closely with unions, industry groups and other mining companies to find jobs for our team in what is, thankfully, a healthy jobs market for mine workers.”