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Good News (And Bad) From Stanwell

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Toowoomba councillors Cr Joe Ramia, Cr Megan O'Hara Sullivan and Cr Chris Tait

Guest speaker Jules Entwistle with husband Adam

November 25, 2016

There was a mix of good and bad news at Stanwell Corporation’s community update, held at Tarong Power Station on Thursday morning.

The good news included the recruiting of 24 extra operators for a “fourth fleet” at the Meandu coal mine.

The bad news was the confirmation that six Stanwell corporate support jobs in the South Burnett would disappear, along with 29 support staff in Brisbane.

But Acting Stanwell CEO Jenny Gregg emphasised there would be no forced redundancies.

She said Stanwell was operating in a rapidly changing market which required the corporation to do things differently.

“We want to be the last coal-fired generator standing … that’s our goal,” she said.

However, while the market was changing – particularly with the push for renewable energy – there had actually been an increasing demand in Queensland for electricity recently due to LNG exports.

Meandu Acting Site Manager Jacob Orbell said annual coal production would be increasing to 6.1 million tonnes for the next two years.

The increased production would also require extra plant as well as the fourth fleet.

Mining crews were reduced to three fleets in January 2013, coinciding with the mothballing of two generating units at Tarong Power Station.

Mr Orbell said current casual workers had been invited to apply for the new fixed-term positions.

 * * *

Coal Reuse

Acting Stanwell CEO Jenny Gregg described the collapse of fly ash contractor Coal Reuse as “a sorry episode” that she wished had ended differently.

However, she said the liquidator’s report had not highlighted the fact that Coal Reuse had been working as a contractor on site since 2013.

She said Stanwell had received a $1.5 million performance guarantee from Coal Reuse.

Earlier this year, it drew down $800,000 from that bond.

Asked why Stanwell had not pulled in the full amount, Ms Gregg said Stanwell had been hoping that Coal Reuse could keep trading, however it was the smaller creditors who had taken action.

“We did not force the liquidation,” she said.

Ms Gregg said Coal Reuse had been developing an international market, and this may have been where things went wrong.

Stanwell is currently calling for expressions of interest for a new fly ash contractor.

* * *

Other highlights from the update:

  • The coal handling preparation plant at the mine will be upgraded in August 2017, with further work in August 2018. The coal stockpile will have to be increased to allow this work to occur.
  • Work has begun on the southern extension of Meandu Mine, including a 130ha extension into the Yarraman Forestry which was granted in October. Two new pits will be opened. HQPlantations has harvested the timber for export. A new road will be constructed to replace a council road that has been closed. This was negotiated with South Burnett Regional Council and Toowoomba Regional Council.
  • Four overhauls were completed at Tarong and Tarong North power stations in less than a year, putting $12 million into the local economy. The next planned shutdown is in 2018, which will be a mini outage at Tarong North
  • Three electrical and three mechanical apprentices, and two administration trainees, have been recruited at Tarong
  • Jules Entwistle, from Kumbia, spoke about the support  Stanwell had provided the Kumbia Cricket Club this year through the Tarong Community Partnership Fund.  Stanwell Community and Indigenous Relations Manager John Carey took the opportunity to warn potential future applicants that revisions were being planned for the guidelines for this program.

Acting Stanwell CEO Jenny Gregg with Nina Temperton and John Box, from South Burnett CTC

Stanwell Maintenance Manager Rob Woodall and South Burnett councillor Ros Heit with Des Crane and Amy Wicks, from Boehringer Ingelheim

Terry Mackrell (NaTDA) with South Burnett councillors Roz Frohloff and Danita Potter

Joy and Glen Vonhoff (Murgon Men's Shed)

Yarraman Historical Society president Helene Johnson, Terry Reid (Yarraman RSL Sub-Branch) and Barry Blinco (Wild Horse FM)

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