For the third time this year, NSW coal miner Whitehaven Coal has trimmed its full-year production guidance.
The company told the ASX on Thursday morning that the new estimate for the year to June 30 is 20.4 million tonnes – down from a range of 20.6 to 21.4 million tonnes previously thanks to a disrupted performance at the Narrabri mine in NSW, and a softer performance at Gunnedah
But Whitehaven reaffirmed guidance for total managed coal sales and unit costs.
The miner said the trim was the result of downtime as it completes engineering works at Narrabri to support the longwall operation, following a recent geological event (which triggered the earlier cut).
Overhaul works on the longwall and machinery repairs are expected to be completed in the next week, according to the company.
Overall though a stronger-than-expected production performance at its Maules Creek mine should see output around 12.5 million tonnes.
Combined with production output of 3.8 million tonnes at the Gunnedah Open Cuts – down from a range of 3.9 to 4.1 million – total open cut production is expected to deliver 16.3 million tonnes in the year to June 30.
The strong rise in thermal coal prices this year – will offset the impact of the lower production guidance. The current Australian thermal coal price is around $107 a tonne, up 16% from $92.22 last month and 104% from the Covid -hit $52.50 one year ago.
The higher coal prices have helped Whitehaven shares jump 30% so far in June to $2.04.