Curragh Mine

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Curragh Mine is located 14 kilometres north-west of Blackwater in the Bowen Basin of Central Queensland. The mine, which is owned by Wesfarmers Curragh, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wesfarmers Resources, covers an area of approximately 12,600 hectares. Approximately two-thirds of the mine's output is metallurgical coal with one-third thermal coal. The mine was expanded in 2011/12 to increase production capacity to 8.5 million tonnes a year.[1]

In 2013 the Curragh mine produced 10.8 million tonnes of coal of which 7.5 million tonnes was metallurgical coal with the remaining 3.3 million tonnes thermal coal.[2]

Coking coal from the mine is railed 300 kilometres to the Port of Gladstone while steaming coal is produced for the Stanwell Power Station near Rockhampton. On its website Curragh states that "open cut reserves at Curragh allow production levels to be maintained to at least 2025."[3]

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Background

The mine was approved in November 1980 by the then Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen who awarded the contract to mine to a consortium comprising Australian Consolidated Industries, R.W. Miller & Co, Mitsui and Arco. The mine announcement was part of a major policy announcement of approval for two new coal-fired power stations, the Callide power station and another station at a location to be determined.[4] The go-ahead for the mine was announced just days before the 1980 state election, which Bjelke-Petersen won.[5]

On its website, Curragh states that "Wesfarmers Limited purchased the assets to the Curragh Co-venture in June 2000 and Wesfarmers Curragh Pty Ltd now holds the full equity interest of Curragh Queensland Mining Pty Ltd and Curragh Coal Sales Co. Pty Ltd. Wesfarmers Curragh Pty Ltd is part of Wesfarmers Resources Limited, a division of Wesfarmers Limited."[3]

Expansion plans

A $286 million expansion of the mine is currently under construction and due to be commissioned in 2012. In November 2009 Wesfarmers announced the expansion of the mine from it's 6.5 to 7.0 million tonnnes capacity to a maximum of 8.5 million tonnes. This followed Wesfarmers reaching an agreement with Stanwell Corporation on access to 46 million tonnes of coal reserves in the Curragh North mining area.[6]

The project is designed to lift coal production from the mine to 8.5 million tonnes of coal.[7].

In its 2011 annual report Wesfarmers stated that it had commenced a feasibility study on a further expansion of the Curragh mine to 10 million tonnes a year.

2014 price slide

In mid-January 2014 Wesfarmers Resources announced that it had settled price negotiations with a majority of its customers for the January to March quarter but at a 5% discount to the preceding quarter for an average free on board price of $US138 per tonne for metallurgical coal.[8]

Platts noted that "hard coking coal from Curragh is generally viewed by the market as a second-tier product and is therefore sold at a discount to premium hard coking coal produced by Anglo American's German Creek mine in Queensland, for example."[9]

"Demand for our met coal is still strong and is growing but it's an oversupplied market," Wesfarmers Managing Director Stewart Butel told Platts.[9]

Crane collapse

Curragh 2008 dragline boom collapse

In December 2008 a boom on a dragline collapsed while being lowered for maintenance. In a media statement the company stated that "the boom of the dragline was being lowered by four cranes and, as a result of winch failure with one of the cranes, the boom fell around 30 metres." A crane operator received minor injuries.[10][11]

Lobbyists

  • Wesfarmers, the ultimate owner of Wesfarmers Curragh, has hired John Connolly & Partners Pty Ltd to represent the company in Queensland.[12]

Affiliations

Mine life

Mine capacity: 8 to 8.5 million tonnes a year. Coal reserves: As of June 2009 the company had 269 million tonnes of proved and probable reserves.[6] Projected mine life:

Contact details

Private Mail Bag
Blackwater 4717
Queensland
Telephone: (61 7) 4986 9211
Facsimile: (61 7) 4986 9327
Website: http://www.curragh.com.au/about-us/

Articles and resources

References

  1. Wesfarmers, "Quarterly statement of production, development and exploration", October 20, 2011.
  2. Wesfarmers Resources, "Quarterly Statement of Production, Development and Exploration", January 20, 2014, page 3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Curragh, "About Us", Curragh website, accessed August 2010.
  4. John Miner, "Queensland plans to almost double output", Sydney Morning Herald, November 25, 1980, page 2.
  5. Vicki Smiles, "ANI plugs into Joh's power play", Sydney Morning Herald, December 3, 1980, page 14.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Wesfarmers, "Wesfarmers approves expansion of Curragh Mine", Media Release, November 10, 2009.
  7. "Thiess in deal to expand Curragh mine", Sydney Morning Herald, February 15, 2010. (This is an AAP story).
  8. Wesfarmers Resources, [http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9MjE3NTI2fENoaWxkSUQ9LTF8VHlwZT0z&t=1 " Media Release, January 20, 2014.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Paul Bartholomew, "Australia's Wesfarmers settles Jan-Mar Curragh metallurgical coal contracts 5% lower on quarter", Platts, January 20, 2014.
  10. Wesfarmers, "Incident at Curragh Mine", Media Release, December 8, 2008.
  11. "Worker injured at Curragh coal mine", Sydney Morning Herald, December 8, 2008.
  12. Queensland Integrity Commission, "Client Details: Client Name: Wesfarmers Limited", Queensland Integrity Commission website, accessed October 2011.
  13. Queensland Resources Council, "Full members", Queensland Resources Council website, accessed October 2011.

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