Sales hit for beleaguered Solid Energy
Solid Energy's coal sales dropped 11% for the latest quarter, on top of a high New Zealand dollar and lower commodity prices.
The state-owned coal miner announced sweeping cuts to operations and staff numbers last month, including the mothballing of the West Coast's Spring Creek mine.
The news does not get much better in Solid Energy's quarterly report to September 30, released today, although it has increased coal reserves.
Coal production for the quarter was flat at 988,000 tonnes. Production at Stockton Mine was up 16%, while no coal was extracted from Spring Creek.
The company says overall coal sales decreased 11% for the quarter, to one million tonnes, mainly because of a 27% drop in overseas sales. New Zealand sales rose 6%.
Export coal prices have fallen to their lowest in at least five years, the report says.
Coal reserves for further mine expansion and development had increased significantly, including an estimated 42 million tonnes of coking coal in the Grey and Buller regions.
Solid Energy is shedding its loss-making renewable energy businesses to focus on coal mining.
The company says coal sales will start later this year from its Mataura domestic-scale briquette factory and further analysis is being done on its underground coal gasification pilot.
It is slated for a partial float in the government's mixed ownership model.