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Peabody has announced moves towards re-entry at North Goonyella mine.

It follows an underground fire late September last year. 

The company is proceeding with the ventilation of the first segment in consultation with the Queensland Mine Inspectorate.

North Goonyella owners look forward to post fire operations

Longwall production is expected to start next year.

“This marks an important first step in the next phase of activities aimed at resuming normal operations at North Goonyella,” said Peabody President and Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Kellow,.

High gas levels caused the evacuation of personnel during a planned longwall move from the 9 North panel to the 10 North panel.  

Subsequently, elevated carbon monoxide detected from within the mine indicated oxidation of coal, which can occur when coal is exposed for an extended time period.

Despite sustained efforts to manage the oxidation from the mine surface, including the use of nitrogen to create an inert environment within the 9 North panel goaf (the mined-out area in the panel), the oxidation accelerated into a spontaneous combustion event that eventually resulted in the fire.

The company said it expected an insurance payout of $125 million.

“At this time, Peabody expects idling and project costs to average $30 to $35 million per quarter in 2019, with first quarter costs expected to come in above the high-end of that range,” the quarterly report in February this year stated.

“The company is targeting approximately $110 million in capital for North Goonyella, including previously planned new longwall equipment.

“In addition, the company expects cash outlays associated with leased equipment settlements.  Peabody also is anticipating recovery of $125 million in insurance proceeds in 2019.”

Wikipedia states that North Goonyella has coal reserves amounting to 175 million tonnes of coking coal, which is one of the largest coal reserves in the world. 

The mine has an annual production capacity of 2 million tonnes of coal.[1] 2.6 million tonnes of coal were produced in 2012.[2]

North Goonyella was acquired by Peabody Energy in 2004.[3] The site consists of an open-cut mine known as Eaglefield and an underground mine called North Goonyella.[4]