North Goonyella Mine in the Bowen Basin.
North Goonyella Mine in the Bowen Basin. Peabody Energy

North Goonyella mine in limbo as $9M spent containing fire

THE world's largest private coal company has spent about $9 million containing an underground fire that shut down a Bowen Basin coal mine.

Peabody Energy has also recorded a $49.3 million charge for estimated equipment loss.

The resources giant has provided an update on the situation at North Goonyella Mine, usually the workplace of about 225 employees.

A fire raging in the depths of the mine, 65km north of Moranbah, was confirmed by Peabody in late September.

On September 27, University of Queensland professor and mine fire expert David Cliff, who had been acting in an advisory role, told the Daily Mercury the spontaneous coal fire had been burning for days.

While Peabody has not made any mention of 'fire' in its Third Quarter 2018 Results published on Tuesday, it's apparent the mine remains in limbo, for now at least.

"Mine personnel are continuing with concrete sealing of the completed longwall panel, and the company is transitioning to the assessment/planning phase ...," it was stated. "This next phase involves mapping of the heated area and monitoring of temperatures, gas levels, seismic activity, surface air quality and camera imaging. These actions come before advanced planning for re-ventilation, mine re-entry and potential restart of operations.

"As Peabody enters the next phase, the North Goonyella team will continue to work from the surface and obtain greater knowledge of underground conditions in the mine. The assessment and planning phase comes before re-ventilation, re-entry and any potential restart of operations."

The current book value of the mine is $284 million, including un-mined panels in portions of the current seam, lower-seam reserves and surface facilities. The mine contains $61 million in leased equipment "not within the sealed and mined-out 9 North panel".