Whitehaven Coal’s saleable coal production fell three per cent in the March quarter and the miner has lowered its production guidance for fiscal 2019, hurt by lower yields from its Maules Creek Mine in New South Wales.
Whitehaven, which mines thermal and metallurgical coal from three sites in NSW, said managed saleable coal production fell three per cent to 5.06 million tonnes in the three months to March 31.
The company lowered its 2019 production guidance for saleable coal to 20.5 million tonnes to 21 million tonnes on a managed basis, from the prior range of 21.5 million tonnes to 22.5 million tonnes.
Whitehaven plans to increase its output of higher-grade coal to benefit from higher prices compared with other grades, because the higher quality fuel is less polluting.
Whitehaven is among the top producers of high-quality coal for the Asian market, with the governments of Japan and Korea key customers.
“Costs continued to moderate through the second half and, with the prospect of in-pit dumping at Maules Creek starting in FY2020, we are passing the peak of costs at our largest operation,” said CEO and Managing Director Paul Flynn.
Whitehaven said it produced 4.9 million tonnes of total run-of-mine coal in the March quarter, down 17 per cent from a year earlier.
Whitehaven shares were worth $3.98 before the open of markets on Thursday, down 32 per cent from a July 2018 eight-and-a-half-year peak of $5.89.