BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has welcomed 51 new apprentices to its operations in the Bowen Basin, as the Queensland Government continues to help people find their way into the mining industry amid coal’s astronomical price spikes.
The apprentice intake includes locals from Moranbah, Dysart, Greater Mackay, Blackwater, Emerald, and Central and Northern Queensland.
BMA operates seven Bowen Basin mines, Goonyella Riverside, Broadmeadow, Daunia, Peak Downs, Saraji, Blackwater and Caval Ridge, and owns and operates the Hay Point Coal Terminal near Mackay.
The major coal-producing region contains one of the world’s largest deposits of bituminous coal.
Earlier this month, the Newcastle coal price broke through the $US400 ($548) per tonne barrier in response to Russian sanctions, more than doubling since the start of 2022.
The highest coal price over the past 10 years came in late 2021 when it surpassed $220 per tonne, showing just how high current quotes are in comparison.
The group of apprentices completed their Work Readiness Program at Emerald TAFE, before heading off to their respective sites to get hands-on experience in their chosen fields.
Blackwater mine maintenance manager Justin Sloper said welcoming the new apprentices to the business is a milestone worth celebrating.
“It is always such an exciting time to welcome the next cohort of apprentices across our operations,” he said.
“These 51 individuals will have the opportunity to learn incredibly versatile skills and build a career in the resource industry.”
Last year, the State Government created a two-year $25 million Pre-Apprenticeship Support program to help combat the industry’s skills shortages in partnership with Queensland group training organisations.
BHP Mitsubishi Alliance has a long history of investing in skills and training, as well as creating pathways and employment opportunities for the next generation of miners.
New recruit Toni Gadd has started at the Saraji mine as a first-year diesel fitter apprentice.
“I’ve wanted to become a diesel apprentice since I was seven when I first sat in a truck,” she said.
“BHP used to have tours that I’d go on. This has just always been an interest of mine. It feels great to be accepted and embark in this new journey in the mining industry.”
The apprentices have completed a three-week work readiness program at Emerald TAFE to equip them with the skills required to work at mine sites.