BHP officially opens the Daunia mine

BHP has opened Queensland newest coal mine, Daunia, the miner's ninth coking coal mine in the state.

Dean Dalla Valle, BHP's head of coal, and the miner's joint venture partner Mitsubishi, were joined by QLD premier Campbell Newman at the operation's opening ceremony.

The mine is a boon for the state, which is currently shedding mining jobs, and is expected to create around 450 new direct jobs.

Speaking at the opening, Dalla Valle said "it's not often, even in a long career in mining, that the opportunity arises to open a new mine, and I am privileged to be doing that today amongst our proud coal miners".

"In recent years, through the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), we have made significant capital investments to expand our operations here in Queensland, where we mine the world's premium quality metallurgical coal.

"In addition to the US$1.4 billion invested to construct the 4.5 million tonnes per annum Daunia mine, BMA has committed US$7.7 billion for major projects in Queensland over the past three years. This includes the new Caval Ridge mine and the expansion of the Hay Point Coal Terminal currently underway. We will have eight BMA mines when the nearby Caval Ridge mine is competed next year."

According to Mitsubishi the mine has a life of 30 years, and is "notable becuse existing rail and port infrastructure can be utilised, thereby allowing for greater cost and capital efficiency".

"Daunia's low stripping volume also contributes to its cost competitiveness.

"Furthermore, the potential for expansion at Daunia provides an opportuntiy for Mitsubishi to continue growing the scale of BMA's business."

Construction of the mine started in 2011,and was completed in July this year, after delivering first coal in June, and unfortunately also reported the first major accident on the site in the same month, after a worker died in a non-work related incident on site.

The mine has received an overwhelming response for the limited number of positions on site. According to Dalla Valle there were more than 30 000 applications for the 900 positions across Daunia and the nearby Caval Ridge mine.

He added that of the 450 workers, 100 are women.

However the operation has not been smoothsailing from the start.

Tensions have been high in the local area after BMA announced it was moving the workforce to a predominately fly in fly out operation, causing anger in the town. 

Rio Tinto opened its new coal mine in the region, Kestrel North, in July.

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