Production during the first part of January was higher than expected, but gradually the stope came upon harder rock. At the beginning of March there was a positive advisory meeting when Store Norske had a breakdown of the cutting machine that broke it in two. The bolts holding the cutting machine came off and there was a halt in coal production in the panel. The accident could have led to a prolonged shutdown.
"It looked pretty bleak when it happened," said Per Andersson, the company's administrative director. "It is fantastic the dedication and creativity that was shown by the people to get the machinery going. It is impressive."
Mechanics, electricians and stope workers rolled up their sleeves and managed to repair the stope. After six days of downtime it could be started up again and production resumed.
"It has just never happened in Store Norske's history that the cutting machine has broken in two," Andersson said. "We had a stop of six days, but we will manage to keep the production target."
As everyday production at Svea Nord comes to a conclusion there is increasing stone content and the company's budget accounts for a stone content of 34 percent. To be able to supply enough coal to customers, Store Norske must therefore have a higher gross production. A good start to the year means the stoppage's impact is reduced.