In another strong year and one in which the face widening project was completed, ROM coal production was 7.3Mt. Saleable coal production was 7.0Mt for FY2017. The mine continues to be one of the most productive and lowest cost underground mines in Australia.
As indicated above, mining in the final 300 metre wide longwall panel (LW106) was completed in the second half of FY2017. The subsequent longwall changeout was completed on schedule and budget with mining of the first 400 metre wide panel commencing in April. The installation of the 400 metre wide panel which cost about $84 million on a 100% basis was the culmination of a two year expansion project at the mine. Work included expanding coal stockpile space on the surface, upgrading the electricity supply to the longwall and upgrading the conveyor system to haul the coal from the mine to the surface. Future production from the mine will be higher and costs lower than could be achieved with the 300 metre wide face.
Work is underway in the exploration lease to the south of the current mining lease at Narrabri with a view to increasing the Resource and Reserves in the area. A drill programme commenced early in 2017 along with mine planning and environmental studies. The results of this activity should become available over the next year and could lead to an increase in Narrabri mine life.
Production guidance for FY2018 is in the range of 8.0Mt to 8.4Mt ROM coal. Actual production of 7.3Mt ROM coal for FY2017 was modestly below the guidance range of 7.5Mt to 7.8Mt provided with the half year results.