South32 cuts 2023 coal output view as Appin mine strike bites

(Image: Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operation in Australia, courtesy of South32.)

Australia’s South32 Ltd on Monday cut its annual coal output forecast, citing a double-whammy from a workers’ strike over pay and an extended longwall move at its Appin mine in the flagship Illawarra project.

The diversified miner said, however, that it had finalized a new enterprise agreement at Appin since the end of the quarter with a term of four years to 2026 to plug workforce disruptions.

Workers at Appin had initially threatened a partial strike for a week in August as they negotiated higher pay at a time of windfall profits for coal miners amid a surge in demand as European buyers shun Russian coal after the Ukraine war.

As a result, the Perth-based miner’s output of metallurgical coal, used to make steel, fell to 1.3 million tonnes (Mt) in the three months to September, compared with 1.6 Mt a year earlier and Visible Alpha consensus of 1.5 Mt.

South32 said it now expects to produce 7.0 million tonnes (Mt) in total coal production for the year to June 2023, compared with its prior forecast of 7.4 Mt.

The company left all its other production guidance for fiscal 2023 unchanged.

(By Jaskiran Singh and Riya Sharma; Editing by Mark Porter and Diane Craft)

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