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Whitehaven Coal Limited : Annual Report 2008
?????????????????????????? Sunnyside (100% owned) The Environmental Assessment for the Sunnyside Project came off Public Exhibition on 19 May 2008 and Whitehaven has responded to all submissions received. Planning Approval is expected by early October 2008. Granting of the Mining Lease in October 2008 would enable first coal production from Sunnyside in the second quarter of FY 2009. Additional exploration has allowed the reclassification of 0.8 Mt from inferred to indicated status, and 4.1 Mt from indicated to measured. A further resource of 65.9 Mt has been identified within the Sunnyside EL area. Bonshaw (100% owned) Whitehaven reached an agreement in July 2008 for the purchase of Republic Coal Pty Ltd’s one-third share of the Bonshaw project in northern NSW. This brings our ownership of the project to 100%. Whitehaven will pay Republic Coal a total of $2.87M for the acquisition in two tranches. The first tranche of $1.87M will be paid on transfer of the tenements and the balance is payable on the earlier of development consent being granted or Whitehaven selling or transferring a majority interest in the tenements. INFRASTRUCTURE Ensuring adequate infrastructure to deliver our coal to customers continues to be a major focus for Whitehaven. Under an agreement completed with the Australian Rail Track Corporation and NSW Government, the company has committed to underwrite 60% of the funding of a major upgrade of the Muswellbrook to Narrabri rail infrastructure which will increase the capacity of that line to more than 15 million tonnes per annum over the next two years. The first stage has been commissioned and will provide a 70% increase of the current capacity. The process for allocation of available capacity from the existing coal terminal at Newcastle port and the rate of its expansion remain of major concern to Whitehaven. The NSW government’s decision on future arrangements for this terminal is imminent. Progress on construction of the new coal terminal at Newcastle port is advancing toward first coal shipments in calendar 2010. SAFETY Whitehaven has maintained its exceptional safety record in FY 2008 with only one lost time injury (LTI) recorded. Since commencing operations in 2000, we have recorded only two LTIs over the eight year period. We are extremely pleased with this result and safety remains a significant focus for our organisation. During FY 2009 the Company will appoint a senior safety professional to continue our drive for improved safety management procedures and their implementation as the Company’s activities expand. ENVIRONMENT Responsible management of the environment within which we operate remains a high priority for Whitehaven Coal directors, management, and employees. There is a strong focus on maintaining all of our operations within the very strict conditions imposed by the relevant authorities under our Development Consents and to minimise any adverse impact on the communities in which we operate. All of our operations are managed in accordance with consent and lease requirements. We have maintained our commitment to progressive rehabilitation. More than 70% of the area disturbed at the Canyon site has been rehabilitated to either pasture or native woodland, with approximately 3,000 native seedlings planted last year. 10
Annual Report 2009