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2 August 2014
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December - 2010
Pike entrance sealed as Aussie expert arrives


THE Pike River mine entrance has been sealed as rescue teams prepare to deploy the GAG jet engine this afternoon to starve the mine of oxygen and make it safe to search for the bodies of the 29 trapped miners.
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Moranbah North stands up for its rescue preparedness


ANGLO American’s Moranbah North mine in Queensland has defended its rescue arrangements and refuted claims that it was closed last week by the Queensland Mines Inspectorate over questions about its rescue compliance.
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Regan on portable gas monitors


Relying too much on handheld gas monitors can be fatal. ILN talks to NSW chief inspector of coal mines Rob Regan.
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Isaac Plains advances despite disputes


THE Isaac Plains mine in Central Queensland is on track to reach a rate of 2.8 million tonnes per annum of sales this financial year with a dragline set to start up in the June quarter. But Aquila Resources and Vale remain at odds over their longwall projects.
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Aquila expands Washpool scope


AQUILA Resources will target 2.6 million tonnes per annum of saleable hard coking coal from its Washpool open cut project in Central Queensland instead of 1.6Mtpa after further feasibility work unveiled more options.
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Peabody makes appointment, wins green accolade


PEABODY Energy has appointed World Bank representative Arshad Sayed as president of its operations in Mongolia and India.
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C&A to expand Bengalla


THE Bengalla open cut mine in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley will increase its run-of-mine production from 7.8 million tonnes per annum to 9.3Mtpa under a $A141 million expansion.
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Mongolian float targets more than coal


WITH sparsely populated Mongolia emerging as an exciting mining frontier, copper, gold and coal explorer Xanadu Mines will float in late December at A60c per share to raise $15-21 million.
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Bucyrus brings automated plow technology to US coal


AFTER much international success with the technology, original equipment manufacturer Bucyrus and producer Cliffs Natural Resources teamed up to bring the first automated plow system to a US underground coal operation.
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New dates for coal mine dust hearings


THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration has released an updated list of public hearings on the proposed rule for coal mine dust exposure.
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Pike hits recovery milestone before remembrance service


THE GAG inertisation unit was fired up at the Pike River mine last night, while today New Zealand will observe two minutes of silence at 2pm to remember the 29 miners lost.
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Whittall defends Pike staff, systems


PIKE River chief executive Peter Whittall has vouched for the professionalism of the mine’s management team especially in regard to the handling of its gas-monitoring systems as he prepares for a memorial service at Greymouth today for the 29 miners who were trapped in the mine.
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Union fronts NSW minister on coal dust sampling


UNION representatives met with the newly appointed New South Wales Minister for Mineral Resources Steven Whan yesterday in a bid to ensure that Coal Australia retains its control of coal dust monitoring in the state’s underground mines.
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PWCS short changes Aston


ASTON Resources is hoping to secure surplus capacity from other Port of Newcastle users to handle the ramp-up of coal exports from its Maules Creek mine after Port Waratah Coal Services offered less capacity than requested.
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Thiess to develop major Indian coal mine


LEIGHTON subsidiary Thiess has landed a mammoth $A5.5 billion coal mine development and operating contract from India’s National Thermal Power Corporation – the biggest the power generator has ever awarded.
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Thiess-Sedgman JV to build Bengalla CHPP


A THIESS-Sedgman joint venture has won an $A85 million contract to upgrade the Bengalla coal handling preparation plant in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.
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Cobalt taps new CEO


PRODUCER Cobalt Coal has selected Michael Crowder as its new chief executive, succeeding interim president and CEO Al Kroontje.
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Rhino steaming ahead in Illinois


KENTUCKY-based Rhino Resource Partners has received the green light on a permit application for its first underground coal operation in Illinois.
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Massey putting locks on troubled KY mine


MASSEY Energy has idled production at its Freedom Energy Mine No. 1 in Kentucky, one of two Massey operations recently targeted by federal officials for a potential pattern of violations.
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L&L provides bridge of assistance to Bowie


US-based and China-focused operator L&L Energy has provided a secured bridge loan to Colorado-based Bowie Resources for the operation of the Bowie longwall mine, idled earlier this year pending financing.
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Integra expansion gets the green light


THE New South Wales government has approved the $A65 million expansion of Vale’s Integra open cut and underground coal mines in the Hunter Valley after deciding they would not lead to dust problems at the nearby Camberwell Village.
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Palmer happy to go it alone with Chinese in Galilee


CLIVE Palmer’s Waratah group is prepared to develop the four thermal coal mines, rail and port infrastructure making up its $A8.6 billion China First project in the Galilee Basin of Queensland with Chinese mine and rail construction companies.
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Cliff to provide crucial insights


MINE safety academic Dr David Cliff is helping the recovery efforts at the Pike River coal mine with the GAG inertisation unit set to continue operating throughout the weekend. New Zealand police are also ramping up investigation work.
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Blankenship subpoenaed in WV investigation


MASSEY Energy chairman and chief executive Don Blankenship has received a subpoena to testify in West Virginia’s probe of the Upper Big Branch explosion that killed 29 workers.
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Mourning for lost Pike miners


AROUND 11,000 people attended the New Zealand’s national remembrance service for the 29 miners lost from the Pike River mine disaster. Pike chief executive Peter Whittall thanked both the New South Wales and Queensland Mines Rescue Services at the emotional event.
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Hunnu unveils maiden resource


HUNNU Coal has set a maiden resource of 324 million tonnes at its Unst Khudag thermal coal mine in Mongolia’s South Gobi region, with more resource upgrades expected early next year.
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Batten down the hatches


WITH the Norwich Park open cut mine recently being affected by wet weather, the Queensland Mines Inspectorate is warning all coal mines to prepare for the “worst storm season in years”.
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Drilling starts at Columboola


DRILLING has kicked off at MetroCoal’s Columboola underground project in the Surat Basin of Queensland.
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Xinergy snatches up stake in Elk Horn


TENNESSEE operator Xinergy has upped its Appalachian footprint by inking a purchase agreement that will give it more than 1.8 million membership units in eastern Kentucky-based Elk Horn Coal.
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MSHA responds to Freedom mine closure


THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration has responded to Massey Energy’s plan to close the federally targeted Freedom Energy operation in Kentucky, making it clear it will continue to ensure miner safety through legal means.
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Western, Walter extend takeover talk time


NORTH American producers Western Coal and Walter Energy have extended the agreement set for talks regarding Alabama-based Walter’s takeover of the Canada-headquartered miner.
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Entering Pike could be months away


RECOVERY teams might not be able to enter the Pike River Coal mine for “weeks, if not months”, as Queensland specialists continued work to inert the mine over the weekend.
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Blankenship stepping down as Massey CEO


EMBATTLED Massey Energy chairman and chief executive Don Blankenship will retire from his post, effective December 31, after nearly 30 years with the Appalachian producer.
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Ex-Pike miner airs safety concerns


THE ventilation and gas monitoring in place at the Pike River mine have been criticised by a former miner at the colliery.
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Vale partners with UQ


BRAZILIAN mining giant Vale has struck a $A2.5 million, five-year partnership agreement with the University of Queensland to fund geosciences research, education and training programs.
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Riversdale play could trigger bidding war


A BIDDING war for Riversdale Mining could soon erupt between Rio Tinto and Brazil’s Vale after the African coal miner confirmed it had been in talks with Rio about a potential £2 billion ($A3.17 billion) tie-up.
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Fatality at West Virginia surface mine


COMPANY and federal officials have confirmed the death of one worker at Massey Energy’s Republic Energy Elk Run Coal operation in West Virginia following a truck accident.
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Heavy rain hits central Qld


HEAVY rain has forced Aquila Resources to declare force majeure on sales from the Isaac Plains coal mine it shares with equal joint venture partner Vale, while Macarthur Coal has made similar declarations and is assessing the impact on its annual profit guidance.
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National-Ranger deal gets the thumbs-up


A MAJORITY of shareholders in troubled Tennessee-based producer National Coal have voted in favor of the proposed takeover by Ranger Energy Investments.
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Walter Energy, Western Coal seal merger deal


JUST one day after announcing an extension to acquisition talks, Walter Energy announced Friday it will merge with Vancouver-based Western Coal in a $C3.3 billion deal that has created a North American and global steelmaking coal giant.
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OK operator settles with MSHA in truck fatality case


THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration has reached a settlement with Oklahoma-based Farrell-Cooper Mining over the 2007 death of a truck driver at one of the company’s surface coal operations.
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Small improvements at Pike River


THOUGH flames are no longer visibly exiting the ventilation shaft at the Pike River Coal mine, the GAG inertisation unit and its crew still have a long tour of duty ahead.
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M&A buzz returns on Blankenship departure


JUST days after Massey Energy chairman Don Blankenship announced he will be stepping down, the producer is reportedly looking at purchasing another coal company as an alternative to a potential takeover.
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Wet weather hits major Qld players


CENTRAL Queensland miners received yet another taste of what is expected to be a particularly nasty wet season, with mine closures, rail delays and other stoppages plaguing the industry over the past few days.
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Tinkler ready to make another coal fortune


ENTREPRENEUR Nathan Tinkler will help develop Coalworks’ Ferndale project in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales through a joint venture to earn a 50% stake in the project for an investment of $25 million.
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Smart shearers


EICKHOFF is introducing more technology to bring its shearers closer to the goal of full automation. Australian Longwall Magazine explores the OEM’s latest breakthroughs and product offerings.
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Aussie coal stock rankings


ASTON Resources and Coalspur have both entered the ASX top 100 miners list prepared by Ernst & Young, with 12 pure coal companies in the rankings.
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MSHA highlights berm maintenance, pre-op checks


THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration is reminding operations utilizing surface powered haulage to conduct safe operating practices and keep road conditions in check after one Kentucky worker was killed last month at a surface operation.
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Truck driver violates Mine Act, gets probation


A WEST Virginian trucking company supervisor has been sentenced to three years probation for falsifying a federal report claiming mandated training was completed for one of his drivers.
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Columboola JV partner coughs up funds


SINOCOAL Resources is wiring over $A30 million to explorer MetroCoal to gain a 51% stake of the Columboola underground project in the Surat Basin of Queensland.
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Pike workers face uncertain future


PIKE River Coal employees could learn more about their future employment situation at a staff meeting today, while a union leader wants workers to maintain their independence during investigations into the recent mining disaster.
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‘War for talent’ in 2011


RECRUITMENT difficulties will only get tougher for mining companies in 2011, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.
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Another big coal project for Xstrata


XSTRATA’S board has approved the $A1.4 billion development of the Ravensworth North open cut project in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales.
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NSW increasingly buoyed by mining


NEW South Wales is becoming more of a resource state as industry figures reveal almost $1 billion of royalties were returned to the state government in 12 months.
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Aston ready for a cash injection


JAPANESE trading house Itochu Corporation has agreed to buy a 15% stake of Aston Resources’ flagship Maules Creek coal project in the Gunnedah Basin of New South Wales for $345 million.
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Focus on highwall stability during US winter


AS the US winter season gets into full swing, the Mine Safety and Health Administration is reminding operations that freezing and thawing water accumulations at highwalls can significantly impact stability.
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Bandanna advances Dingo West


BANDANNA Energy is seeking federal environmental approval for its small Dingo West open cut project in Central Queensland as part of its plan to fast track metallurgical coal production.
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Xinergy sees strength in its future


TENNESSEE newcomer Xinergy has released its production and sales outlook for the next two calendar years, and said strength in both aspects next year will lead to a banner 2012 for the central Appalachian-focused operator.
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UP rail loadings climb


COAL train loadings for major rail shipper Union Pacific have continued a months-long upward trend in November on increased shipments from the Southern Powder River Basin.
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Novadx turns all attention to coal efforts


CANADIAN firm Novadx Ventures has opted not to continue its exempt market dealer registration in Ontario as it wishes to concentrate on expanding its coal industry presence.
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The siege at Pike River


THE effectiveness of the GAG inertisation unit remains dependent on capping the ventilation shaft at the Pike River Coal mine.
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Weather havoc continues in Queensland


MORE coal mines in Central Queensland have been shut down with flooding and thunderstorm activity set to continue for several days.
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Oaky expansion on the cards


XSTRATA Coal is investigating several options to expand its major Oaky Creek mining complex in Queensland, reopen the United Colliery in New South Wales and work out the best port solution for its mammoth Wandoan project in the Surat Basin.
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Tinkler nails Coalworks deal


WITH the farm-in agreement signed, Coalworks will be assisted by entrepreneur Nathan Tinkler to advance the Ferndale project in the Hunter Valley.
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Royalties the sticking point for BHP and Rio in tax deal


A SENATE committee investigating the proposed Minerals Resource Rent Tax was told the world’s two largest miners may not have accepted a pre-election tax deal with the Gillard government, had they been aware key aspects could later change.
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Massey and MSHA cooperate in UBB probe


AFTER some debate on issues around the federal investigation into the Upper Big Branch mine explosion, tensions between the US Mine Safety and Health Administration and mine owner Massey Energy seem to be easing somewhat.
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Blankenship to net $US12M retirement


DEPARTING Massey Energy chairman and chief executive Don Blankenship is set to receive $US12 million and other benefits upon his retirement at the end of the year.
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Aquila upgrades Talwood resource


AQUILA Resources has almost tripled the coal resource at its Talwood Coking Coal Project in Queensland’s Bowen Basin to 246 million tonnes.
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Trolex makes leadership change a family affair


UK sensing systems company Trolex has begun a new chapter in its five-decade history with owner John Pierce-Jones’ appointment of his two sons to take up the leadership reins.
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American Power gets into Pace


COLORADO-based American Power is pushing ahead with its Pace coal project in Montana with the start of prospect drilling operations.
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Chinese mine explosion kills 26


AN underground gas explosion at a coal mine in China’s Henan Province has claimed at least 26 lives.
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Award for world’s first 11kV AFC


AMPCONTROL, together with Xstrata and Joy Mining Machinery, have won an Australian Engineering Excellence award for the world’s first 11kV armoured face conveyor longwall system for installation in Zone 1 hazardous areas.
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Mastermyne buys LHDs for Oaky Creek


DIVERSIFIED Mining Services has completed the latest sale of two Atlas Copco Coaltram utility vehicles to underground mine contractor Mastermyne for use in Xstrata’s Oaky Creek complex in Queensland.
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Grasstree, Carborough Downs scares analysed


AN investigation into the recent frictional ignition incident at the underground Grasstree mine is complete, while more details have emerged on how a development crew at Carborough Downs holed into a decommissioned borehole.
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Further explosions possible at Pike River


ONGOING risk assessments have found that capping the charred ventilation shaft at the Pike River Coal mine could potentially stall the GAG inertisation unit.
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Transitioning to Blakefield South


XSTRATA Coal is continuing work to ramp up the Blakefield South longwall mine as the legendary Beltana mine winds down.
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Sedgman ends its head hunt


WASH plant building specialist Sedgman has finally ended its search for a managing director and CEO, appointing mining engineering executive Nick Jukes to the role.
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Byrd Bill rejected at US House


THE US Department of Labor said Thursday it was “disappointed” in the unsuccessful House of Representatives vote to pass the Byrd Bill, a proposal spurred in part by the Upper Big Branch mine explosion.
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Bathurst makes an offtake deal


BATHURST Resources has inked a memorandum of understanding with independent steel and commodities trader Stemcor to offtake premium hard coking coal from the Buller coking coal project in New Zealand.
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Drummond may sell stake in Colombian ops


ALABAMA-based producer Drummond Coal is reportedly considering the sale of a minority stake in its South American coal mines as an alternative to selling the entire unit to another operator.
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America West signs supply deal with utility


UTAH producer America West Resources has contracted with a major northwestern US electric power company for a multi-year supply deal with additional purchasing options worth up to $US175 million.
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Pike goes into receivership


DOMINANT Pike River Coal shareholder New Zealand Oil & Gas has appointed receivers for the troubled coal company, three weeks after the first explosion, in which 29 miners were lost, rocked its namesake mine.
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Capping milestone at Pike River


RECOVERY teams have capped the charred ventilation shaft at the Pike River coal mine in New Zealand, while a mobile Air Liquide Floxal nitrogen generator is expected onsite later this week.
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Hunter Valley exports swamped by floods


FLOODS in eastern Australia, which have run a swathe through New South Wales’ wheat crop and disrupted coal production in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, are now expected to slash the Hunter Valley’s thermal coal production.
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‘Missing link’ to unlock Surat Basin


THE Queensland coordinator-general Graeme Newtown has granted conditional approval of the environmental impact statement for the proposed $1 billion Southern Missing Link railway line, effectively opening up the Surat Basin for coal export and bypassing the Port of Brisbane.
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More input sought for anti-mining policy


THE Queensland government aims to release a draft policy to protect strategic cropping land in early 2011, an initiative that poses a threat to future coal mining development.
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Fake foreman facing charges


A WEST Virginian miner has been indicted by a grand jury and could face jail time for falsifying his mine foreman certification and making false representations.
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Blankenship will not testify in UBB probe


ONE week after agreeing to testify in the investigation of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion, Massey chairman and chief executive Don Blankenship has decided to not appear for his interview this week.
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ASGCO cages in safety


CONVEYOR component and system supplier ASGCO Manufacturing has launched a product aimed at improving worker safety, the Safe-Guard Return Idler Cage.
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Four receive probation for Aracoma charges


FOUR former Massey Energy foremen have each received one year of probation stemming from federal misdemeanor charges for failure to conduct escape drills at the Aracoma Alma No. 1 mine prior to a 2006 fire which killed two workers.
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Pike workforce slashed


PIKE River Coal’s receivers have wasted no time and have immediately made 114 miners redundant.
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Recovery teams wait for the Floxal


THE ventilation shaft is capped, but gas readings at the Pike River Coal mine in New Zealand have not yet revealed any significant improvements.
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Palmer wants local contractors


CLIVE Palmer has pledged Waratah Coal group will use 40% local contractors to construct four underground and two surface thermal coal mines at its $A8 billion China First project in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland.
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UBB miner forged foreman license


MASSEY Energy has confirmed reports that surfaced late Sunday regarding an Upper Big Branch miner who forged a foreman’s certification and conducted hundreds of safety inspections using fraudulent credentials.
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Pike Royal Commission gets teeth


QUEENSLAND Mine Safety and Health Commissioner Stewart Bell has been appointed as one of three commissioners to serve the Royal Commission into the Pike River Coal mining disaster.
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Natural Resources goes international, targets Aussie assets


NEWLY formed Natural Resources International is in talks for three coal assets in Australia, two in the US and one in Colombia, and is also looking at rail and port infrastructure operations in the US and Australia.
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Vista to produce 18Mtpa: PFS


PERTH-based Coalspur is positioned to export thermal coal from its Vista project in Canada after a prefeasibility study defined a 31-year mine life for the 18 million tonne per annum ROM project.
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Industrea appoints seasoned CFO


MINING equipment manufacturer and supplier Industrea has appointed former Chubb finance director Jeff Watson as its new chief financial officer.
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Coal & Allied suffers under the deluge


RIO Tinto subsidiary Coal & Allied has become a casualty of the unseasonally high rains that have swept through eastern Australia and is set to reduce exports of thermal coal from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.
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Weather starts to ease off in Qld


WET weather shut down two of Queensland Rail National’s rail systems over the weekend, while Wesfarmers has revealed the rain’s impact on its Curragh mine.
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Bounty’s January return to the ASX


UNDERGROUND coal services provider Bounty Mining plans to raise $A10 million through a rights issue so its shares can resume trading on the ASX debt-free, while another contract from Xstrata Coal is on the cards.
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Pike workers misled: union


PIKE River Coal management has delicately avoided widespread outrage since 29 lives were lost in its mining disaster. But with more than 70% of the remaining workforce axed with little warning yesterday, a union leader has said the tide is turning.
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NSW $5.3B electricity sell-off draws fire


THE New South Wales government has pushed through its controversial electricity privatisation process in a $5.3 billion deal that has been roundly condemned by the opposition and directors of the electricity companies for undervaluing the assets.
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Longwall mining at major Qld project


PRIVATE company QCoal, led by geologist and mining magnate Chris Wallin, seeks to join the Bowen Basin longwall sector through the Byerwen open cut and underground coal project immediately west of Xstrata’s Newlands mine.
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US coal fatalities in 2010: part 1


Over the next several days, International Longwall News will take a look at the 48 coal mining fatalities that have occurred in 2010 in the United States, beginning with the first quarter and ending with the most recent fatal incident.
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Bolting and CM hazards


AS researchers continue their quest for the holy grail of automated bolting, acclaimed ergonomist Robin Burgess-Limerick delves into the risks and best practices for improving safety around bolting machines and continuous miners.
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NSW planning dept triples actions against mines


MOOLARBEN’S unauthorised clearing during construction was the only prosecution by the New South Wales Department of Planning against a colliery during a year in which the number of enforcement actions have tripled.
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Bandanna cashed-up for WICET


BANDANNA Energy will use the $A76 million raised from an institutional placement for its share of the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal development and to progress its Dingo West and Golden Triangle projects in Queensland.
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MSHA’s mobile equipment safety program


ALARMED by the number of injuries and fatalities at US underground coal operations, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has developed a program to highlight hazards around mobile equipment.
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Mechel constructs processing facility in WV


RUSSIAN miner and steelmaker Mechel OAO has launched a new $US12 million coal processing plant in southern West Virginia.
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WV cites Consol in roof fall fatality


WEST Virginian officials have cited Loveridge owner Consol Energy for a July accident at the mine which resulted in a fatality.
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Mongolian plays prove popular


EXPLORER Xanadu Mines’ initial public offering has already closed and is $A3 million over-subscribed ahead of its listing next week.
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Pike rescuers saved by timely decision


RESCUE teams were called off from entering the Pike River Coal mine around seven minutes before the second explosion took place, according to sources who recently made the trip to New Zealand.
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NSW govt to develop then sell Cobbora


THE New South Wales government will earmark $A2 billion from the $5.3 billion sale of its electricity assets to develop the Cobbora mine near Mudgee and supply subsidised coal to the newly privatised power stations.
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The next mining tax bout


XSTRATA has lost faith in the Minerals Resource Rent Tax compromise with the Gillard government and could put the major Ulan West and Ravensworth North projects under review.
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NZ govt faces large Pike disaster bill


RECEIVERS will complete a report on the state of affairs of Pike River Coal within two months, while the New Zealand Police will pay for recovery efforts at the troubled mine.
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Close calls in November


CONTINUOUS miners at the Grasstree and Carborough Downs mines managed to intersect gas drainage boreholes last month during development, while other serious Queensland incidents included a vehicle-to-vehicle collision underground and a big roof fall.
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US coal fatalities in 2010: part 2


APRIL was by far the deadliest month of the year for US coal operations, with 33 men losing their lives, including 29 at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch operation. While the questions relating to the other April deaths have essentially been answered, many question marks still remain over the nation’s worst mining disaster in four decades.
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NuCoal ups resource at Doyles Creek


NUCOAL Resources has increased the resource at its Doyles Creek coal project in the Hunter Valley by 77.4 million tonnes to 497.7Mt of premium quality semi-soft coking and thermal coal.
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Two more fake foremen face charges


JUST days after reports surfaced of a miner faking foreman credentials and conducting examinations at US operations, two more West Virginian workers are facing federal charges for fraudulent representations.
Full Story...

Joy Global wraps year on a high note


INCREASES across the board, from profits to new bookings, has brought great year-end news to original equipment manufacturer Joy Global, with the company looking to keep the momentum going in 2011.
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Peabody makes global appointments


PEABODY Energy has made three new leadership appointments across its global supply chain management, strategic planning, and finance and treasury functions.
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Expansion to follow Griffin acquisition


INDIAN power generator Lanco Infratech will acquire embattled Western Australian thermal coal producer Griffin Coal from its administrators for an estimated $A800-850 million.
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Carabella makes strong ASX debut


FORMER Anglo American head of operations and current managing director of Carabella Resources Mitch Jakeman saw his 4% holding in the coal exploration company soar by 87% when it debuted on the ASX this morning.
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Kiwi mines face Qld safety review


QUEENSLAND Senior Mines Inspector Tim Watson and Caledon Coal chief operating officer Brett Garland will audit New Zealand’s underground coal mines as a result of the Pike River disaster.
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James River mine smoked by MSHA


VIRGINIAN producer James River Coal has been issued with an imminent danger citation by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration after an open pack of cigarettes and lighter were found on an underground miner at one of its Kentucky operations.
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Floxal makes the journey to NZ


AIR Liquide’s Floxal nitrogen generator has arrived in New Zealand by ship and is expected to be at the Pike River Coal mine on the weekend, while another borehole will be drilled to provide additional gas data.
Full Story...

Doyles Creek could be 5Mtpa longwall


NUCOAL Resources will start a prefeasibility study on its Doyles Creek project in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales after confirming it could support a 10-year longwall mine producing 4.5-5 million tonnes per annum of semi-soft coking coal.
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Four-year contract win for Thiess


LEIGHTON subsidiary Thiess has won a $1.015 billion extension to its operating contract for Xstrata’s Mt Owen open cut coal mine in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales.
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US coal fatalities in 2010: part 3


FOUR deaths at US coal operations were recorded in May and June, with three of the four occurring underground amid a disturbing trend of pinning and crushing incidents. International Longwall News continues its review of this year’s 48 coal fatalities.
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Dryblower explores the increasingly tangled web of tax and politics


“OH what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” It’s a bit long, but if the Australian government ever gets around to adopting a national motto, Dryblower reckons that old saying is a perfect fit in the wake of the great mining tax fiasco.
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Stockpile maker stacks up


THE Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal wanted to be able to offer coal blends to its customers. It turned to a novel approach to get it.
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Penn Virginia buys reserves in KY, TN


A PENN Virginia Resource Partners subsidiary has signed an agreement to acquire coal reserves as well as oil and gas royalty interests in Kentucky and Tennessee under a $US97.25 million deal, expanding the company’s Appalachian coal footprint.
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MineARC wins export award


REFUGE chamber specialist MineARC has been named Western Australian Exporter of the Year 2010 in the small to medium manufacturer category at this year’s State Export Awards.
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Bligh cans ZeroGen


THE Queensland government’s decision to scrap the $4.3 billion ZeroGen clean coal power station and write off its $96.3 million investment in the project has attracted anger from unions and the federal government.
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New plan to recover bodies at Pike


A NEW recovery plan for the bodies of the trapped 29 miners at the Pike River mine in New Zealand could be announced as early as Wednesday, as grieving families become increasingly impatient with the pace of the recovery.
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Wills on Walls: The seven deadly sins part 2


IN my humble opinion, the future of longwall technology lies in overcoming human error, and preventing the seven deadly sins from happening.
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US coal fatalities in 2010: part 4


FOUR deaths at US coal operations were reported in July and August, all of them at underground minesites and all in the eastern US coalfields. International Longwall News continues its review of this year’s fatalities across the nation.
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Tinkler takes on more coal projects


COAL magnate Nathan Tinkler is continuing his recent spree of deal making as his company Boardwalk Resources agrees to buy Norton Gold Fields’ Sienna and Electra coal projects near Middlemount in Queensland for $A30 million.
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Massey Energy eyeing ICG


AFTER last month confirming it is looking at its strategic options, Massey Energy is now reportedly considering a takeover of International Coal Group.
Full Story...

$US395M to restore coal mines


TWENTY-five states and three American Indian groups will receive $US395 million from the US Department of the Interior to clean and restore abandoned coal mine properties.
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Mine safety info to be mandatory: SEC


MINING companies will have to disclose information about safety and health standards at their operations to their shareholders, according to rules being proposed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Full Story...

Fatal accident stops production at Foxleigh


ANGLO American Metallurgical Coal was forced to close its Foxleigh mine in Central Queensland on the weekend after a 53-year old contractor died at the mine while changing a tyre.
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Rio to takeover Riversdale, eyeing Drummond’s Colombian ops


RIO Tinto is reportedly ready to formalise a $A16 share takeover of the Mozambique hard coking coal miner Riversdale Mining.
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Angus Place – Innovating in an extreme environment


Centennial Coal’s Angus Place colliery received two nominations for its innovations at the recent NSW Minerals Council Mine Safety awards in the Hunter Valley. Australian Longwall Magazine editor Lou Caruana visited the mine to better understand the culture of innovation that has been nurtured at the colliery.
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High gas levels force Pike evacuation


GAS levels at Pike River soared yesterday, forcing recovery crews to evacuate the site after the GAG machine was turned off for maintenance.
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Canadian miner injured in surface incident


A HAUL truck driver is still recovering from his injuries after a rollover crash late last week at Western Coal’s Wolverine operation.
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Sojitz takes majority stake in Minerva


JAPAN-based Sojitz Coal Resources has taken an option to lift its stake in the Minerva Joint Venture in Queensland’s Bowen Basin to 96% in a deal believed to be worth more than $200 million.
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First coal at Penumbra by 2011


CONTINENTAL Coal has moved further in its strategy of increasing production of export-quality coal with the board approving underground development at its Penumbra thermal coal mine in South Africa, with first coal expected in the fourth quarter of 2011.
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Thelon to take over Clear Fork Mining


CANADA-based Thelon Capital has acquired the Jellico coal project in Tennessee after exercising its option to purchase Clear Fork Mining.
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Delays lead to redundancies for Coffey


PROJECT delays and postponements have forced the hand of Coffey International, with the consulting group announcing the axing of 100 jobs to recover $A15 million in costs.
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Strata successfully tackles longwall move


STRATA Mine Services has achieved a first for US contracting companies by becoming the first to complete a longwall move for one of its largest American customers.
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Pike River could be sealed


SEALING the Pike River mine in New Zealand is one option being considered as Pike River Coal’s receivers present an alternative re-entry plan today.
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Industry welcomes MRRT tax report


AFTER consulting with Australia’s mining sector over the past few months, the Policy Transition Group has released its final report into the implementation of the controversial mining tax with its 94 recommendations mainly welcomed by the industry.
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Mt Pleasant gets mining lease


THE New South Wales government has granted a mining lease to Coal & Allied for its Mount Pleasant open cut thermal coal mine in the Upper Hunter Valley.
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Drilling confirms clean coal section at Belview


A COAL seam gas well drilled within Stanmore Coal’s EPC1114 tenement in central Queensland has confirmed the presence of multiple coal seams within its Belview project, including a continuous clean coal section of 3.8 metres in the Pisces seam.
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Alpha enters bid for Massey: report


VIRGINIAN producer Alpha Natural Resources has reportedly made an offer to purchase producing rival Massey Energy, adding fuel to rumors regarding Massey’s future.
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FutureGen trims shortlist for storage site


THE six Illinois locations that submitted bids to become the potential site of a carbon storage facility supporting the planned FutureGen near-zero emissions project have now become four.
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Maple Eagle pinned with federal POV target


A WEST Virginian underground mine is being targeted for a potential pattern of violations following a federal audit which revealed the mine’s under-reported injuries.
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NAG selects operator for KY properties


CANADIAN producer North American Gem has tapped M3 Energy Resources as its operator partner for the North American Gem No. 2 and fully permitted No. 3 operations in Kentucky.
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Pike’s recovery plan could take months


A DRAFT two-stage re-entry plan to recover the bodies of the 29 miners killed by the explosion last month at the Pike River Mine in New Zealand was presented to police yesterday by the receivers of Pike River Coal.
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Rio to takeover Riversdale for $3.9b


MINERALS giant Rio Tinto will bolster its coking coal production profile and establish itself in the burgeoning coal province of Mozambique with the $A3.9 billion takeover of Riversdale.
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German Creek hold-up delays Bounty raising


DELAYS in starting production at Anglo American’s Aquila and Bundoora collieries at German Creek in Queensland have led to contractor Bounty Mining receiving a default notice, effectively forcing it to delay a $10 million capital raising.
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MSHA focuses on surface equipment safety


FOLLOWING the death of a surface miner earlier this month in West Virginia, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration has compiled the best practices to prevent similar incidents.
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Biotech group will now have coal focus


INVESTMENT company XCeed Capital has gained 192% on revealing it will exit biotechnology for coal, offloading its fine chemical manufacturing subsidiary Boron Molecular for $1.5 million along the way.
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Two miners injured at JWR mine


A ROCK fall accident at the Jim Walter Resources No. 4 mine in Alabama has left two miners injured with one still hospitalized.
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US coal fatalities in 2010: part 5


FIVE of the 48 coal fatalities reported to date occurred in the final four months of this year and nearly all involved powered haulage. Today we summarize the September and October incidents.
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Heat is on over royalties


A POLITICAL war of words has erupted over the Policy Transition Group’s recommendation that the federal government should cap state mining royalties, which has angered the mineral-rich states.
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Rio may face rival suitors for Riversdale


A BATTLE for some of the hottest coking coal properties in the world looks ready to begin with Rio Tinto's $A3.9 billion takeover offer for Riversdale likely to be challenged by shareholders Indian steel group Tata and the Brazilian CSN Group.
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Whitehaven struck by deluge


TAKEOVER target Whitehaven Coal has become the latest casualty of the unusually wet weather, with quarterly coal production at its open cut mines in the Gunnedah Basin, New South Wales, adversely affected.
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QRN offers nice surprise


Despite being written off by many critics, the Queensland Rail National float has provided a pleasant surprise, with the stock hitting the Australian Securities Exchange at a premium.
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MRRT to raise billions less: report


THE controversial mining tax is tipped to raise billions less than the government’s previously flagged $A7.4 billion due to unrealistic commodity price and volume assumptions.
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A force or a farce?


SINCE the August federal election there has been much commentary on the rise of the Greens in our political system. By Minerals Council of Australia CEO Mitch Hooke
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Illinois underground mine lays off 37


UNION officials have confirmed that 37 workers at Springfield Coal’s Crown III operation in Illinois have been laid off.
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Height of efficiency


BIS Industrial Logistics has teamed up with KKT Engineering and Setco Australia to develop hydraulic canopies and mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) that provide safety and functionality benefits in underground mining applications.
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US coal fatality year in review: Part 6


International Longwall News brings the final segment in its review of this year’s US deaths.
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Walter Energy buys river terminal


ALABAMA operator Walter Energy has inked a deal with a US Steel subsidiary under undisclosed terms to acquire the assets of Mobile River Terminal.
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Royal Coal adds KY thermal properties


CANADA-based Royal Coal has signed a letter of intent to acquire eight high-quality thermal coal properties in eastern Kentucky, and plans production from the first one in the second quarter of next year.
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S500 designed for pressure pumping applications


THE S500 is the latest addition to the S Range of plunger pumps from RMI and is designed specifically for high-pressure pumping longwall applications.
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Qld rains to cut billions of export dollars


AUSTRALIA’S exports of coal could suffer a severe blow because of the Christmas flooding disaster in Queensland and northern New South Wales, with predictions that up to $6 billion will be cut from the national income.
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Riversdale could fall into Indian hands


RIVERSDALE Mining’s largest shareholder, Indian steel giant Tata, has not yet decided whether to challenge Rio Tinto’s $A3.9 billion bid for the Mozambique coking coal miner but will not necessarily block the $16 per share offer.
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United and undefeated


THE United Colliery in New South Wales is on care and maintenance, but the proud union story behind the mine will be aired through the documentary film Last Stand at Nymboida.
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MSHA proposes examination rule changes


THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration has proposed changes to its existing requirements for underground coal mine examinations.
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Flashback


WORKERS at the Nymboida Colliery in the 1970s cut their own timber onsite to use as props underground.
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Bridgestone tyre monitoring system improves safety


Bridgestone Earthmover Tyres’ new tyre application monitoring system for underground mine applications is designed to help underground operators improve safety and maximise tyre life across a wide range of applications and site conditions.
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Inside Massey’s Aracoma: a new chapter


AFTER losing two valued crew members in 2006 to an incident involving a conveyor belt fire, Massey Energy’s Aracoma operation was targeted by a nationwide mine safety spotlight shone by regulators and industry critics.
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Remote operation of roadway development is key


AUTOMATION of the roadway development process will require well thought through change management processes in order to be successful, argues Gary Gibson of Gary Gibson Associates.
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Giving rubber-tired vehicles another look


PERSONNEL transport manufacturer Damascus outlines rubber-tired haulage benefits, and how the option has made a safe, efficient difference for one customer mine.
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Hanrahan speaks up for Pike GAG crew


PIKE River’s operations manager of the GAG jet crew, Clive Hanrahan from the Queensland Mines Rescue Service, has defended the efforts of his team at the mine and has sought to correct statements about the progress of the inertisation at the mine.
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Rio halts coal sales from Qld mines


COAL sales from Rio Tinto’s Kestrel longwall mine will cease and the company will also declare force majeure on sales contracts from its Hail Creek, Blair Athol and Clermont mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin because of the recent flooding.
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’Tis the season to hand out some awards


If he played baseball BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers would now be heading for the dugout under the three strikes you’re out rule.
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Will Cancun’s 10 commandments achieve a climate miracle?


So what did the UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico actually agree? The so-called Cancun Agreements is a package of 10 decisions that locks in emissions reductions targets for 80% of global emissions, notably including China and the US.
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CFD simulation of underground coal dust explosions


COAL dust explosions have always been, and will continue to be, the most significant hazard in an underground mine. Much effort has gone into developing methods of prevention and suppression, and these generally centre on the use of passive processes, such as adding stone dust to accumulations of coal dust to prevent its ignition.
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Sounding and sighting


GAS level warnings are effective only when workers know about them. Thanks to a new audio-visual alarm from UK supplier Trolex, crews may now get that necessary alert more quickly.
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Drilling blind


UNDERGROUND mines are increasingly asking for larger diameter shafts to provide ventilation for increased production.
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Social media and sustainability


CALL me new-fashioned, a slave to techno-popularism. In the space of a few weeks I’ve had my eyes opened to how social media – spearheaded by the relentless networking immediacy of Twitter, the mass market likeability of Facebook and the picture-show power of YouTube – will be an absolute game-changer for sustainability. By Murray Hogarth.
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Longwall mining chain: Smart chain management


IN this second of a three-part series, techniques are discussed that assist with managing AFC and BSL mining chain, extend the operating life of the chain, and reduce or eliminate production stoppages due to chain failure. By Mark Newton and George Roman
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Kangaroo to acquire Indonesian coal mine


KANGAROO Resources hopes to be a major Indonesian coal producer after acquiring the Pakar thermal coal project in East Kalimantan from PT Bayan Resources in a scrip deal worth $A277 million.
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Shelter from the storm


TROPICAL cyclone season is well and truly underway in Australia with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting an above-average season. With that in mind, a Perth-based shelter manufacturer has launched a unit to protect workers in cyclones rated up to category 5.
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Whittall wanted real-time gas monitoring


PIKE River Coal CEO Peter Whittall said at the 2006 Underground Coal Operators’ conference in Wollongong that a real-time monitoring system would be established at the mine, but the extent of the monitoring before disaster struck is yet to be determined.
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Qld floods paralyse $38B coal industry


PEABODY Energy and Wesfarmers have joined Anglo American Metallurgical Coal and Rio Tinto in calling force majeure on coal export contracts as the floods in Queensland continue to take their toll, resulting in billions of dollars of lost exports.
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West Wallsend put to the test


XSTRATA Coal reinforced its strong reputation for safety after successfully running a Level 1 Simulated Emergency Exercise at its West Wallsend colliery in New South Wales.
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Peak coal scenario could have already started


When will production of coal peak? New research published in the journal Nature suggests it will be a lot sooner than thought, with supplies being depleted and no new sources found.
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Commodities: when good means bad


JUST when we thought we were riding on the miners‘ backs, economists are trying to shatter our illusions. The Outcrop by Robin Bromby
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Examining behind-the-seal inertion


CONNECTICUT-BASED On Site Gas spoke with Coal USA about the hot topic of behind-the-seal gas inertion, including how mines can be proactive about issues is the wake of ever-changing ventilation regulations.
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Indonesian adventure


With the ground prepared, Pan Asia hopes to reap a rich harvest from its Indonesian projects over the next few years.
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Social media and sustainability – the business case Part 2


SOCIAL media is beguilingly open, yet can go rabidly viral. By Murray Hogarth
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Royal Coal takes stake in KY terminal


CANADIAN operator Royal Coal has signed a letter of intent to take an 80% ownership stake in the River coal-loading terminal, just days after announcing it had secured eight coal properties in eastern Kentucky.
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