TerraCom tightens belt with Blair Athol fleet cuts

TerraCom will drop an entire truck and excavator mining fleet from its roster at the Blair Athol coal mine near Clermont as it cuts costs to weather the impacts of COVID-19.

The company said it was now targeting production of about 2 million tonnes next financial year from the thermal coal operation and expected coal sales of 2.5-2.6 million tonnes for the year ending June 2020.

Back in February, TerraCom believed it was on track to achieve 3 million tonnes in coal sales for the 2020 financial year.

“The reduced production profile at Blair Athol is necessary to ensure TerraCom is able to maintain a profitable position throughout these uncertain times,” chief executive officer Danny McCarthy said.

“The impacts of COVID-19 have been unprecedented and for this reason TerraCom must implement responsible, proactive measures now to provide the best outcome for all stakeholders.

“The mine plan will continue to be assessed to ascertain any further changes to the production profile in light of the current economic environment.”

Unit cost benefits will be delivered predominantly through focusing on dragline and production dozer overburden removal methods, with the remaining truck and excavator fleet dedicated to coal mining and minimal overburden.

This change in method will mean the removal of an entire truck and excavator mining fleet which would usually operated 24 hours, seven days a week.

Mining reduced to five-day roster

TerraCom said its remaining truck and excavator fleet would revert to a five-day roster – day shift only.

“As a result, the direct labour and associated ancillary support fleet costs are also reduced, including some other work stream components which will revert back to a five-day roster,” the company said.

TerraCom recently launched a takeover bid on South African miner Universal Coal and now holds a stake of more than 92 per cent, which means it can proceed to compulsory acquisition under the UK Companies Act.

Even after considering the COVID-19 impact, the combined TerraCom and Universal guidance for this financial year is for 10.2 -10.6 million tonnes in coal sales, with a total EBITDA of $86-90 million.

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