To consider timber roof support long term firstly we must understand timber as a resource. This is an obvious statement, but we do not make timber. The end products are produced from trees that have taken considerable time to grow in a range of environments. Some environments are not as favorable for growing timber as others.
In particular regard for the QLD industry this Google image of Central Queensland shows some concentrations of timber, but these are national parks. Essentially there is very little timber country as such. The areas which have had timber in the past and what remains now are somewhat scattered and contain relatively small trees that have taken 50 – 100 years + to grow.
Aside from the political agenda on land clearing the reality is this part of the country cannot sustain the level of logging that it historically needed to support the mining industry.
To give you some idea it takes around 3 trees of the typical size in this region to provide enough timber for 1 cog. That extends to approximately 15000 – 20000 trees per year just for longwall takeoffs. The timber resource is simply not available in this region for a secure sustainable future.
There are major issues arising from this not the least environmental responsible mining and supply chain security for an essential consumable. What would happen if there was just no timber available to undertake a longwall recovery?
The MTT solution to this point in time has advanced with 9 significant production hardwood mills from the Qld border through to Newcastle. This is the bread basket for timber in this country. The trees are typically 4 – 5 times bigger, quicker growing and there are just vast areas of timber which is sustainably managed and harvested. The log resource the mills are using for our product is what they typically refer to as salvage and is taken after the prime quota logs are harvested … either from the tops of the trees after the quota logs have been taken or the lower grade of trees in the harvesting area.
Having a multitude of mills producing also takes out any issues of impact if for example a mill could not access logs due to floods or had a fire or the likes.
Redundancy is key to a secure supply chain.