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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        14  May 2011

Banpu to upgrade Centennial

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Banpu Plc, Asean's largest coal miner, has earmarked A$590 million (19.1 billion baht) over five years to increase output and upgrade production of its Sydney-based Centennial Coal through 2015.

Somruedee Chaimongkol, Banpu's chief financial officer, said the investment in Australia's Centennial, acquired by the company late last year, will be in addition to the miner's five-year capital expenditure of US$230 million planned for its Indonesian mines.

Banpu has set its sights on raising Centennial's annual output to 19.6 million tonnes by 2015 from an estimated 16 million tonnes this year and 14 million tonnes last year, she told a briefing at the Stock Exchange of Thailand yesterday.

In addition, new technology will be utilised to upgrade production systems including the installation of flexible conveyor trays.

Centennial now operates 10 mines in the western and northern parts of Australia, with four more under development.

It also targets increasing exports to half of the company's production by 2014-15 to broaden its exposure to higher spot coal prices.

At present, 65 present of Centennial's output is supplied to local power plants in New South Wales state.

In the first quarter, Centennial contributed 3.7 million tonnes to Banpu's sales volume, while another 5.4 million tonnes came from Indonesian coal operations.

Ms Somruedee said that in the second quarter, 6.2 million tonnes of coal are projected from Indonesia and 3.5 to 4 million tonnes from Australian mines.

Full-year output is projected at 41 million tonnes including 25 million from Indonesia. "If the coal price continues its momentum, we expect Banpu's average selling price to reach US$90 a tonne this quarter, up from $74 last year," said Ms Somruedee, adding that the average price could be even higher.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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