Australia's New Hope coal sales slump on rail embargoes during Commonwealth Games

Sydney (Platts)--29 May 2018 532 am EDT/932 GMT

Australian thermal coal miner New Hope said Tuesday that its coal sales were down 13% year on year to 1.90 million mt during the February-April quarter as rail restrictions put in place for the Commonwealth Games negatively impacted its Queensland operations.

The slump came as its 100%-owned and operated Queensland-based New Acland and Jeebropilly mines saw sales fall 31% year on year to 1.01 million mt.

Its 40%-owned New South Wales-based Bengalla mine, meanwhile, posted sales of 892,000 mt, up 24% on the year, the report showed.

"Significant outages of the western rail system were experienced during April. This rail system services both the New Acland and Jeebropilly mines and the outages were a result of freight rail embargoes during the Commonwealth Games and scheduled maintenance outages," New Hope said.

The inability to rail coal during this period also had an impact on coal production as site stockpiles reached capacity, it said.

Its Queensland operations' saleable coal production was 1.22 million mt during the quarter, down 2% from the corresponding period last year. Its Bengalla operation saw saleable production rise 13% over the same period to 886,000 mt.

Despite the rail issues, full-year coal production and sales from the Queensland coal operations are expected to be similar to that of last year, while Bengalla's production and sales are expected to be slightly higher year on year, New Hope said.

The miner's Queensland operations saw sales of 5.12 million mt in the August 2016-July 2017 period, down 6% from a year earlier, and its Bengalla operation sold 3.41 million mt, up 132% as it was the first full 12-months of New Hope's ownership of the mine. It purchased its 40% share from Rio Tinto.

--Nathan Richardson,
--Edited by Pankti Mehta,

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