Anglo American to align growth ambitions with safety

Anglo American's Grosvenor mine in Queensland. Image: Anglo American

Anglo American is reconsidering its plan to deliver 24 million tonnes of coal from the Moranbah-Grosvenor complex in Queensland by 2022, should it not have the ability to deliver safely.

Anglo American chief executive of metallurgical coal Tyler Mitchelson addressed the Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry, stating that the company viewed the Moranbah and Grosvenor complex as its largest opportunity.

The final number will be “Based on what … we can safely deliver out of those mines,” the chief executive said.

Despite being prepared to invest $500 million in the project, Anglo American is ready “to rethink the size and how we actually do it.”

“We have to be able to manage gas within the limits of the production – and strata – within the rates that we want to achieve,” Mitchelson said.

“… We know we had to do things differently to be able to actually deal with the gas issues we have currently and where we want to take the business and be able to deal with proactively.”

Anglo American is in the pre-feasibility stage of assessing its Moranbah-Grosvenor preparation plant capacity.

Mitchelson vowed that the longwall operation at Grosvenor wouldn’t have started should had the company’s risk assessment indicated it couldn’t be operated safely.

To the chief executive, remote operation is the “biggest potential value we have” in pulling people away from high-risk environments. This is planned for an earlier execution than anticipated across its Australian coal mines.

Anglo American also intends to engage data scientists and subject matter experts to develop a gas modelling that assess the operations’ risk profile.

“As my gas modellers tell me, it is one of the most complicated models that you can try to build, given the variables that go into it,” Mitchelson said.

The inquiry was established following the ignition of methane at the Grosvenor mine in May.