120 jobs snapped up at Blair Athol mine

Of the 2100 applications received for work at Blair Athol mine, a lucky 120 people have been offered positions at the operation.

Emails with offers of employment have been distributed, but a date for when workers will hit the ground is uncertain as the completion of sale is still being finalised.

A subsidiary of Linc Energy, New Emerald Coal, acquired Blair Athol mine from Rio Tinto in October.

NEC will reopen the mine with a view to produce up to 3 million tonnes of thermal coal per year via what it calls “low-cost, targeted mining operations”.

Executive general manager of operations Jason O'Rourke said he hoped to have crews start in April, CQ news reported.

He said the number of applications received was "impressive”, with many coming from the Central Queensland region.

"About 60% were from Clermont," O'Rourke said.

"Around 35% were from the Emerald, Mackay, Rockhampton areas, so you're still talking central Queensland.

"We gave everyone who came through a chance to learn about NEC, the Blair Athol project and how we plan to run it compared to how it was run in the past."

O’Rourke said it was regretful the sale had not been completed, stating it was important for his company to be transparent with its new workforce.

"It's a process, we don't want people resigning from their current jobs when the sale completion is still happening," he said.

"The government is working, making sure we have ticked all the boxes and jumped all the hurdles.

"The lease realignment is taking longer than we expected, we are still waiting for news from departments and Rio Tinto, and there is a whole range of other things to flow on from there."

No timeline has been given for the resumption of mining, but O’Rourke hopes “it will happen imminently”.

In the meantime, the company plans to discuss contracts with its new employees and will host meet and greets with senior members of the team.

"We are in the hands of others, so we need to keep in contact with the people on board with this project,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke said the community had been supportive of the mine’s reopening, with locals regularly dropping in to the company’s shopfront in Clermont.

"I had a guy who runs a local business pop in and say 'hey, you're probably going to have some of my men applying but that's fine because we want this mine kicked off, how can we help?'

"That's the response you don't expect but love."

O'Rourke encouraged more local businesses to register what they do and the capabilities they can offer the mine.

"So, then we can go through that local register and go from there, including them in the tender process."

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