In its latest quarterly report, which would be the final quarter for the 2015 fiscal year, BHP Billiton reported that its metallurgical coal production for FY 2015 increased by 13% to a record 43 million metric tons (mt). Record production and sales volumes in Queensland, Australia, were supported by the successful ramp-up of the Caval Ridge mine and continued productivity improvements. An increase in equipment and wash plant utilization rates underpinned record volumes at six other operations.
Production increased by 18% from the March quarter, which was affected by wet weather and a longwall move at Crinum. At current mining rates, operations at Crinum are expected to cease in the first quarter of the 2016 calendar year as the mine approaches the end of its economic reserve life.
Production is forecast to decrease in FY 2016 financial year to 40 million mt as a result of the closure of Crinum. Longwall moves at the Broadmeadow and Crinum mines, and wash plant shutdowns at Goonyella and Peak Downs mines are rescheduled for the September 2015 quarter. Production is expected to commence from the 1-million-mt/y Haju mine in Indonesia during FY 2016.
As far as thermal coal, production for the FY 2015 decreased 5% to 41 million mt as anticipated. Lower production reflected drought conditions and the need to manage dust emissions at Cerrejón in Colombia, as well as reduced customer demand for its Navajo coal product in New Mexico.