To purchase this space contact Gordon

Two upcoming exploration licenses could add 15 years to the life of a Whitehaven coal operation in New South Wales.

Whitehaven has a reported a half year net profit of $1.8 billion in a record-breaking performance.

The coal miner can also boast a 15 per cent year on year improvement in safety performance and a run-of-mine (RoM) managed production of 8.8 million tonnes (Mt) compared with 8.4Mt in the first half of 2022.

In a comment address the company’s performance, chief executive officer and managing director Paul Flynn said that the business performed well despite ongoing challenges.

“In the first half of FY23, global energy shortages continued to underpin strong pricing. Weather related production constraints in New South Wales contributed to tight supply,” Flynn said.

“Prices for high quality, high-CV coal held at very high levels during the half year and our customers remain focused on energy security as a key priority. We achieved a record realised average price of A$552 per tonne in the half year, a 173% increase on the same period last year.

“Despite weather interruptions and ongoing labour constraints, the business performed well operationally. Our Narrabri underground mine delivered a strong operational performance and our safety results continued to improve with a rolling 12 month recordable injury frequency rate of 5.2 representing a 15 per cent year on year improvement.

“With Whitehaven’s half year NPAT of $1.8 billion, and strong operating cash flows, we are retaining cash on our balance sheet for future optionality. At the same time, we are returning surplus capital to shareholders through fully franked dividends and share buy-backs.”

The company said energy security would remain a key priority against the global energy supply shortfall.

“Demand for high-quality seaborne thermal coal remains strong and while we have seen some cyclical price softening moving into the second half of the year, we expect that high-CV coal prices will continue to be well supported throughout CY23,” Flynn said.

“We are focused on maximising margins and meeting production and sales guidance for FY23. At the same time, we are progressing plans for our Vickery and Winchester South development projects, including completing our assessment of a staged approach of the Vickery development to bring on smaller volumes sooner to help meet the strong demand.”