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Anglo America’s Moranbah North longwall mine has been producing metallurgical coal since it opened in 1998. Located north west of Mackay within the Bowen Basin, the mine site has been producing 5-6 million tonnes of high quality hard coking coal for its customers; primarily steel manufacturers in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, India and throughout Europe. Late last year, it won ‘Coal Mine of the year’ at the 10th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.
In the lead up to the 13th Annual Longwall Conference we had the opportunity to gain some further insights from Glen Britton, Head of Underground Operations at Moranbah North about the coal project as well as his experience with operating in the current environment.
One of the key factors to a successful operation is leadership – when did you begin heading up the Underground Operations at Anglo and what is your role at Moranbah? Glen: I began my role as Head of Underground Operations in January 2013 and prior to this carried out the role of General Manager at Moranbah North Mine.
Cost reduction programs have been seen as critical to the long term viability of Australian mining – has there been particular initiatives implemented by Anglo American? Glen:In times of need, Anglo American focused on business critical activity only and reverted to a ‘lean is mean’ approach along with any efficiency improvement programs that were cost effective (a couple of which will be shown in my conference presentation).
Despite challenging conditions in the current environment, Moranbah North is celebrating the success of a number of implementations on site; one of them being automation – what is the impact on overall production and safety records? Glen: From an automation perspective, the improvements are significant. By eliminating human behaviour and the requirement to position a person in a compromising place can only benefit the end product. Again, I will discuss this further in my presentation.
Interspersed among the gloom that currently surrounds the mining industry has been the removal of both the carbon and mining taxes by the Abbott government – what is your stance on the issue and do you think this initiative will improve Australia’s reputation in terms of attracting trade and investment? Glen: I welcome anything that can pro-actively help this industry in times of need and it can only be good for Australia when competing with its competitors.
Estimated coal reserves at Moranbah indicate a mine life of more than 20 years – are there measures in place to maximise productivity; and more importantly how effective has the powered roof support project been (commissioned in 2009)? Glen:There should always be projects in place to enable continual improvements. Effective leaders would not be doing their job if this wasn’t the case. The powered roof supports are probably the best I have ever seen and are definitely fit for purpose.
Join Glen at Longwall 2014 this October at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley to hear further updates from the Moranbah North mine.