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Bushfire smoke blamed for poor coal production

BHP worker meeting
BHP worker meeting.

A mining giant suffered a blow to its latest production volumes due to smokey haze from dozens of bushfires.

BHP has blamed poor air quality for an 11 per cent drop in energy coal production at its Mt Arthur Coal Mine in Muswellbrook, 127km northwest of Newcastle.

Disaster slows work

The operation only produced 7 million tonnes between September and December 2019, and smoke from about 80 bushfires is continuing to reduce productivity across many of the proponent’s New South Wales operations.

Firefighters have been unable to contain the bushfires since they started in October 2019. The disaster has already killed 21 people, decimated more than 5M hectares and destroyed more than 2100 homes.

Staff take leave

The company confirmed poor visibility forced work to slow down due to safety reasons, with some staff taking time off to defend their properties from the raging inferno.

“We are monitoring the situation and if air quality continues to deteriorate then operations could be constrained further in the second half of the year,” BHP said in its latest trading update according to the Australian Associated Press.

The proponent is keeping its original coal production guidance of 15M to 17 M tonnes.

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