Source: Shift Miner
Chief Executive Officer for FAR Grant Polwarth, told members of the Mackay-based Resource Industry Network that since acquiring the mine in December last year, they had completely reversed the direction of operations.
"The mine under previous ownership was purely a longwall operation; they'd stopped all development operations as they were winding the mine down," Mr Polwarth said.
"We've come on, and we've had to move very quickly, think out of the box, on how we can give ourselves continuity through 2017 and mine towards the north to unlock the reserves in the northern area.
"We've breathed life into the mine and given it a future."
The decision by the company to abandon previous owner Vale’s plans to put the mine into care and maintenance in April is great news for the nearly 200 employees who would have become redundant.
Those employees will now remain working at the mine, as well as close to 100 casual employees who have been brought in to help FAR catch up on it's mine development and expansion work.
FAR is a subsidiary of global commodities and resources group AMCI which is controlled by American based coal billionaire Hans-Jürgen Mende.
AMCI has a thorough understanding of the Carborough mine having been the owner back in the early 2000's before selling it - and some other NSW and QLD coal mines - to Vale in 2008 for around $835 million.
Vale then spent a further $400 million on the Carborough mine.
While the price AMCI paid Vale to buy back the Carborough mine has never been made public, it would appear to have been exquisitely timed, with a major rally in coal prices in the same month they closed the deal making the mine profitable again.
Mr Polwarth also says the recovery in coal prices has meant the adjacent Broadlea open cut coal mine is once again viable, and they are exploring options to take that pit out of care and maintenance this year using a contracted workforce.
The Carborough Downs underground mine is 20 kilometres east of Moranbah and produces predominantly hard and semi-hard coking coal with pulverised coal injection (PCI) coal as a secondary product. Total mining capacity is 4 Mtpa of which 2.8 Mtpa is sold. At peak production, Carborough Downs employs around 500 people.