One of the largest steps forward in negotiations has been made in the BMA unions struggle as the two agree to a framework agreement.
For close to two years the CFMEU and the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance have failed to reach a middle ground in the enterprise agreements for workers at BMA coal mines across the Bowen Basin.
They groups announced they were entering mediation on Wednesday, with the CFMEU stating that "given the importance in resolving this long-standing issue and in preserving the integrity of the process BMA and the unions have agreed that they will not be making any public comment until mediation has concluded.
"Both sides acknowledge that the success of the mediation will rely on confidential, good faith discussion to which all have given their full commitment," it added.
Late on Friday the CFMEU said that the two have now "agreed to a framework agreement that will guide the finalisation of the BMA Enterprise Agreement".
However it did note that "further work is required to finalise local mine site details".
BMA and the unions said that Bill Kelty played a major role in the mediation process.