by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Whitehaven Coal Limited : Annual Report 2013
16 Whitehaven Coal Limited Annual Report 2013 Maules Creek project The Maules Creek Coal project located in the Gunnedah Basin is a large open cut mining operation with an expected life of over 30 years. ROM coal production rate will be about 13Mtpa and product about 11Mtpa. The products from the mine will include semi-soft coking coal, PCI coals and premium low ash thermal coal. NSW Government approval was granted on 25 October 2012 with Federal Government conditional approval granted on 11 February 2013. This was followed with a nal approval of all conditions to allow for construction to commence by the Federal Government on 4 July 2013. Subsequent to balance date, a group represented by the taxpayer funded Environmental Defenders O ce commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against the Federal Minister for the Environment and the Company challenging the validity of the approval granted by the Federal Minister. The Application led with the Federal Court contends that the Minister committed errors of law in granting the approval on 11 February 2013. In this litigation, the Federal Court has jurisdiction to determine whether the Federal Minister committed an error of law in granting the approval. For updates refer to the Company's website. Capital expenditure to rst coal remains as advised and is approximately $767 million (100% basis) with about $170 million already spent. The remaining $597 million will be incurred over the next one to two years with Whitehaven's share 75% of the total. Maules Creek is expected to have an average whole of life FOB cash operating costs of approximately A$67/t (excluding royalties) which is a very competitive operating cost structure, largely driven by Maules Creek's relatively low overburden stripping ratio of 6.4 bcm per tonne of ROM coal. The low FOB cash cost, combined with a low development capital cost per annual tonne of capacity and the high value of the saleable coal, con rms the strong economics and substantial value of this project. Existing unutilised debt facilities at 30 June 2013 are expected to be su cient to meet Maules Creek capital expenditure commitments based upon the projected mine development timeline. However, nal timing will be dependent upon the startup of construction which may be impacted by the current litigation. Vickery project Following the acquisition of Coalworks, completed in August 2012, and the subsequent acquisition of Itochu Corporation's interest in the Vickery South project, Whitehaven owns 100% of the Vickery South project along with the Vickery project. As with other mines, Whitehaven will consider the potential of introducing joint venture partners to the project similar to the Narrabri and Maules Creek joint venture arrangements. The enlarged project area presents the Company with an opportunity to combine the Vickery project and the Vickery South project into one large project, subject to relevant approvals processes. The combined Resource for both project areas is 507.6Mt (148.1Mt Measured, 183.5Mt Indicated and 176.0Mt Inferred). The Marketable Reserve for the consolidated Vickery project is 180.0Mt (all of which is Probable category). Initial mine planning on the Vickery project has generated an open cut design which produces 164Mt of ROM coal. Vickery could produce about 4.5Mtpa ROM for more than 30 years at an average strip ratio of approximately 10:1. Another key advantage for the project is the potential to use the Gunnedah CHPP for washing coal. This would signi cantly reduce the capital investment required for the mine. Products would be similar to Maules Creek as the same coal seams are being mined at Vickery and include a semi-soft coking coal and thermal coal. The Vickery project Preliminary Environmental Assessment was lodged with the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DP&I) in November 2011 and the Environmental Impact Statement was placed on public display from 5 March 2013 to 12 April 2013. Whitehaven has reviewed the submissions made during the exhibition period and issued a Response to Submissions to the DP&I. A number of additional submissions were made after the formal close of the exhibition period leading Whitehaven to prepare and submit an additional Response to Submissions on 17 July 2013. The current time table would indicate a determination is likely in the rst quarter of CY2014 Other projects Whitehaven has interests in a number of other coal exploration projects, including Ferndale, Dingo, Sienna, Monto, Ashford and Oaklands North. The Company decided to restrict expenditure on these projects to the minimum required to keep them in good standing with the Government authorities. The strategy is likely to persist throughout FY2014. Development projects
Annual Report 2012