The first industry-wide analysis of lost coal production resulting from severe flooding has reinforced the gravity of the blow to the economy, Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said today. Releasing the QRC’s quarterly State of the Sector report, Roche said the extent of losses to the industry and Queensland in the form of foregone coal royalties would be determined by the speed at which normal production can resume.“The emptying of coal pits full of rainwater and the restoration of rail and road transport are central to ensuring losses are minimised,” Roche said. “It’s not a pretty outlook for the industry or Queensland.“However, as the coal industry demonstrated after the 2008 floods in central Queensland and during the global financial crisis, it can bounce back and must, in the interests of the Queensland and Australian taxpayers.”Against a quarterly ‘business as usual’ baseline of 51 Mt of coal production (export and domestic) in Queensland, QRC analysis reveals that production in the March 2011 quarter is expected to fall by at least 25% and up to 50% under a ‘high impact’ scenario.“The translation of the lost production data into lost earnings is a daunting reminder of the size of the challenge confronting Queensland and Australia,” Roche said. “The state government will be missing out on coal industry royalties of between A$1.6 and A$2.9 million a day for the rest of the financial year. The analysis is also forecasting a hit to Queensland’s Gross State Product in 2010-11 of A4.5-8 billion.“To put that into perspective, Queensland’s GSP grew by A$5.6 billion between 2008-09 and 2009-10, meaning that even at the lower end of the scale, the impact of the floods could see almost a whole year’s worth of Queensland’s economic growth lost.”Roche said that while prevailing high prices for coal would provide incentive for Queensland miners to move back into production quickly, the price benefits could flow straight to global export competitors if a concerted effort was not directed at de-watering Queensland mines and restoring transport links.The State of the Sector report can be accessed at http://www.qrc.org.au/_dbase_upl/SOSDec10_web5.pdf
In a review of exploration and development activities in 2018, Ivanhoe Mines has gone into some detail on developments at Shaft 2 at the Platreef PGM-nickel-copper-gold project on the northern limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex.This follows a project update issued just after the Mining Indaba event in February.Shaft 1, expected to reach its final depth of 982 m below surface in early 2020, will ultimately become the primary ventilation shaft during the project’s initial 4 Mt/y production case, but Shaft 2, around 100 m northeast of Shaft 1, will provide primary access to the mining zones.Ivanhoe said Shaft 2 will have an internal diameter of 10 m, will be lined with concrete and sunk to a planned, final depth of more than 1,104 m below surface.It will be equipped with two 40-t rock-hoisting skips capable of hoisting a total of 6 Mt/y of ore – the single largest hoisting capacity at any mine in Africa. The headgear for the permanent hoisting facility was designed by South Africa-based Murray & Roberts Cementation.Ivanhoe said nine blasts were successfully completed in 2018 enabling the excavation of Shaft 2’s box cut to a depth of approximately 29 m below surface and the construction of the concrete hitch (shaft collar foundation) for the 103-m-tall concrete headgear (preparations pictured here) that will house the shaft’s permanent hoisting facilities and support the shaft collar.Excavation of the box cut and construction of the hitch foundation is expected to be completed in the June quarter, enabling the beginning of the pre-sink, that will extend 84 m below surface, it said.In July 2017, Ivanhoe, which indirectly owns 64% of the Platreef project through its subsidiary, Ivanplats, issued an independent, definitive feasibility study (DFS) for Platreef covering the first phase of production at an initial mining rate of 4 Mt/y. The DFS estimated Platreef’s initial, average annual production rate would be 476,000 oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold, plus 21 MIb (9,525 t) of nickel and 13 MIb (5,897 t) of copper.