Key developments during FY2020
During FY2020, NSWEC transitioned to a strategy of optimising product quality. This has resulted in a reduction in volumes and an increase in unit costs in the short term, but overall increased realised value. Production volumes were also impacted by unfavourable weather impacts from December 2019 to February 2020, partially offset by strong performance in the June 2020 quarter driven by record truck utilisation.
Truck productivity improvements were delivered in the second half of FY2020, enabling a step-change improvement across our mining fleets. Annualised truck hours improved by 20 per cent, cycle times reduced by 10 per cent and payload increased by 3 per cent, supported by maintenance strategies and practices that enabled equipment availability in excess of 90 per cent.
In FY2020, BHP completed an optimisation of the NSWEC outbound supply chain commercial arrangements through a partial divestment of shares and stapled capacity at the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group terminal. The total export capacity of the asset remains unchanged and the transaction has facilitated a more competitive cost position.
NSWEC continues to plan for the most productive path through steeply dipping resources (the monocline) and securing the required regulatory approval to continue operations post FY2026. Work is underway to review mine planning and operating alternatives to structurally reduce costs in the near term and ensure a viable mining operation which is resilient during low price cycles.