Spring Creek Mine joint venture resumes production
Solid Energy’s Spring Creek Underground Mine joint venture resumes coal production
Spring Creek Underground Mine near Greymouth, a joint venture between Solid Energy and Cargill, has resumed coal production following a 14-month $25 million redevelopment to access 3.1 million tonnes of new coal.
Staff at the mine this week commissioned and began operating the hydraulic monitor, a high-pressure water cannon used to extract coal from the face and sluice it down to the underground pump station where it is sized and brought out of the mine either in a slurry pipeline or on conveyor belts.
Simon Doig, Solid Energy’s General Manager South Island Operations, says achieving monitor start-up at Spring Creek is an important milestone for Solid Energy, Cargill and their Spring Creek Mining Company joint venture. Solid Energy has 51 per cent of the joint venture and is the mine operator.
“Over the last 12 months geology has continued to be a major challenge but Spring Creek’s management team and workforce have undertaken a number of initiatives to ensure that we arrived at this point within budget and on target,” Mr Doig says. “This mine has a strong future, with up to 20 years of production and the coal is attracting strong interest from steelmakers.
“To accelerate the mine’s further development and ensure production targets are met we have begun a recruitment campaign in the UK. We have had a good response to our advertising there and a small team is travelling to Sheffield in mid-January to interview experienced underground mineworkers and tradespeople.”
As well as creating 4 kilometres of new underground roadways and equipment bays, the development project at Spring Creek has involved a major upgrade of the coal washery at Rocky Creek; construction of a high-voltage substation; upgrades and repositioning of underground electrical, pumping and coal screening equipment; an upgrade of the high-pressure water, water-treatment and conveyor systems; and construction of a new surface screen. To ensure the pace of roadway development is maintained, a new roadheader and automated bolting rigs are on order.