Safety concerns close down Narrabri coalmine for short-term

WHITEHAVEN Coal has temporarily halted production at its underground mine in Narrabri to ensure the safety of employees while recovery works are completed.

The company announced to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) yesterday that it estimated longwall production would cease for between two and three weeks.

Issues arose when planned reconfiguration works of a particular section of the mine created unexpected problems that needed to be rectified.

The delay means the company has had to adjust its overall production forecasts from 10.7 million tonnes to about 10 million tonnes for the financial year.

Whitehaven Coal’s CEO Paul Flynn said “all necessary resources” had been committed to resolving the issue “expeditiously”.

“Our priority is the safety of our people as we return to normal operations,” he said in a statement to the ASX.

“We are confident that the recovery plan currently being executed will deliver a return to production in the indicated timeframe.”

The downgrade is a blow to the company, which reported an $11.6 million loss in the six months through December.

But it comes just a week after the Department for the Environment announced the company’s offset strategy for its proposed Maules Creek mine met all required standards.

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