Australian coal miner Whitehaven is defying the coal slump by continuing to ramp up production at its Maules Creek mine, The Australian reports.
Whitehaven says it experienced a record high run-of-mine coal production during the March quarter, with an increase of 21 per cent at 5.7 million tonnes compared to the same time last year.
This is in despite of the soft international market and global oversupply. Its Maules Creek mine was started in August last year amid an industry slump.
Whitehaven’s saleable coal output also hit a record high at 5.3 million tonnes, up 28 per cent for the quarter compared to the same period last year, and has experienced an increase of 48 per cent over the year to date.
Coal prices have been falling since 2011 as new mines started production when demand from major buyers such as China slowed.
Whitehaven sold its coal at an average of US$51.56 per tonne over the three months to March, ahead of the index average of US$50.46. The company expects to sell in the June quarter at a price of US$64-US$67 per tonne.
Maules Creek is one of the largest coal deposits in Australia, with enough reserves to operate for roughly 30 years.