Whitehaven Coal Ltd. reported record run-of-mine coal production of 7.4 million tonnes for the December 2018 quarter, up 36% from a year ago.
For the first half of the company's fiscal 2019, it reported a slight 1% fall in production to 11 Mt but said it is in line with the full-year guidance of between 22 Mt and 23 Mt of salable coal.
The company said Jan. 17 that its salable coal production for the December 2018 quarter increased 11% year over year to 5.6 Mt but was down 12% for the half to 9.6 Mt.
Coal sales for the quarter, inclusive of purchased coal, fell 7% on a yearly basis to 5.4 Mt, and coal sales for the half decreased 14% to 10.3 Mt. Prices achieved for thermal coal totaled US$108 per tonne for the December 2018 quarter and US$122/t for metallurgical coal. Prices achieved for the last six months of 2018 totaled US$110/t for thermal and US$124/t for metallurgical coal.
The company booked record quarterly run-of-mine coal production of 4.0 Mt at its Maules Creek mine, 57% higher year over year.
Whitehaven added that run-of-mine coal production for the quarter at its Narrabri mine increased 42% to 2.3 Mt, while it fell 12% to 1.1 Mt at the Gunnedah Operation.
Separately, the company's board approved an expansion plan for the Tarrawonga mine, part of the Gunnedah operations, which is expected to increase the mine's run-of-mine coal production forecast to 3.0 million tonnes per annum during the September quarter of the company's fiscal 2020.
Whitehaven said it received 560 public submissions regarding the Vickery extension project, with 63% supportive of the project proceeding. Two public hearings for the extension project are set for February, and the company expects to get an approval by the end of 2019.
Regarding the recently acquired Winchester South project, the company said it plans to start a drill program in the June 2019 quarter.