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Cook Colliery produced 538,000 tonnes (ROM) coal last financial year after a strong finish including production of 58,500 run-of-mine tonnes in May.

Bounty acquired the Cook Colliery and Minyango coking coal project for $31.5 million in 2017 after former owner Caledon Coal was placed into administration.

Bounty commenced operations at the site, south of Blackwater, in February 2018 with one continuous miner fleet, with two additional mining fleets by July 2018.

A fourth production panel, a sumping panel, commenced in late October 2018 and in the December half, Cook produced 241,000 tonnes run-of-mine coal.

The company said a restructure of the management team was implemented at the start of 2019, which reduced overheads.

“Subsequently, the number of operating mining units were reduced from four to three in mid-February 2019 with the objective of maintaining forecast production but with lower cost and higher reliability,” the company said in its preliminary final report to the market.

“A combination of redeployment of equipment, an introduction of a new rigid maintenance regime and changes in mining sequencing resulted in improved productivity, ultimately leading to a record production of 58,500 run-of-mine tonnes in May 2019 and a total of 297,000 run-of-mine tonnes during the second half of the year (an increase of 24 per cent over the first half of FY19).

New JORC reserve and resource statements were issued last month, declaring a 15Mt resource to cover the next six years of mine life at Cook Colliery and 210Mt in total resources when combined with the Cook North project.

“These statements support the transition of the mine to a Bord and Pillar place change operation,” the company said.

“The mine is scheduled to commence place change mining with a first unit during the second quarter of FY20 and a second unit in the third quarter of FY20.”

This mode of mining is expected to result in significant productivity gains.

Cook Colliery also began toll washing for Carabella Resources last quarter, with more than 60,000 tonnes washed during June and 75,000 tonnes in July.

Cook Colliery restructure bears fruit