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Whitehaven Coal Limited : Annual Report 2013
69 Whitehaven Coal Limited Annual Report 2013 Overview Whitehaven is positioning itself as a company with high quality long life assets, a strong growth pro le and low cost mines readily able to provide quality coal to Asian based power and steel industries. The past year has witnessed the combination of assets from the merger of Whitehaven and Aston, the engagement of an able and experienced management team to lead the Company through its strong growth phase, the ramp up of the large Narrabri underground mine, a review of current mining operations to ensure they remain competitive in the current market environment and obtaining various Government approvals for the Maules Creek project. Production growth emerged with equity saleable production increasing by a signi cant 55% to 6.63Mt for the year -- the rst step in a strong growth phase to occur over the next three years. The Company's safety performance continued to improve over the year with the new Narrabri mine leading the way with an outstanding performance in its rst year of longwall production. The long and extended approval process for the Maules Creek project was nally completed with all the required approvals obtained from both the NSW State and Australian Federal Governments. Commencement of construction is now awaiting the completion of nal negotiations and consultation with local indigenous groups and the outcome of a Federal Court challenge relating to the Minister's approval of the project. Following the successful acquisition of the remaining interest in the Vickery South project during the year Whitehaven is currently examining studying the enlarged project area to optimise potential resources and have commenced the approvals process. Whitehaven responded to the current weak market environment by limiting spending on the remainder of its growth projects. Risk Factors Whitehaven operates in the coal sector. There are a number of factors, both speci c to Whitehaven and to the Coal industry in general, which may, either individually or in combination, a ect the future operating and nancial performance of the Group, its prospects and/or the value of Whitehaven shares. Many of the circumstances giving rise to these risks are beyond the control of the Whitehaven Directors and its management. The major risks believed to be associated with investment in Whitehaven are as follows: Operating Risks The Company's coal mining operations will be subject to operating risks that could result in decreased coal production which could reduce its revenues. Operational di culties may impact the amount of coal produced at its coal mine, delay coal deliveries or increase the cost of mining for a varying length of time. Such di culties include (but are not limited to) weather (including ooding) and natural disasters, unexpected maintenance or technical problems, failure of key equipment, depletion of the Company's Reserves, increased or unexpected reclamation costs and interruptions due to transportation delays. Directors' Report
Annual Report 2012