BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance's Daunia mine has begun pulling coal from Central Queensland’s Bowen Basin.
Located 150 kilometres south west of Mackay, the $1.5 billion mine began operating in March and will continue to ramp up operations this year as it works towards hitting an annual 4.5 million tonne target.
"Our Queensland Coal operations achieved a significant milestone … with first production achieved at the Daunia mine, ahead of schedule," BMA said in a statement.
"The continued ramp up of this mine and the future commissioning of Caval Ridge will underpin an expected increase in the capacity of our Queensland Coal business to 66 million tonnes per annum by the end of the 2014 year."
BMA’s larger project, Caval Ridge is expected to start operating before the end of next year, Sunshine Coast Daily reported.
The two mines are estimated to cost BMA $5.8 billion, on top of the $3.4 billion it is spending to expand its Broadmeadow mine and Hay Point Coal Terminal.
BMA recently called for 1050 workers to run Daunia, inundated with 18,000 applications the company has set up "assessment centres" in Brisbane and Cairns to review short-listed candidates.
Daunia expected to have its 450 FIFO workers by the end of June, a move which has angered locals and the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.
BHP- Billiton had previously agreed to source 30% of the total workforce from the local township of Moranbah, in Queensland, to work on its Daunia and Caval Ridge mines, but the company stated earlier this year that workforce conditions meant that this was not the best step.
Instead, workers will be flown in from Brisbane and Cairns.
Defending the move, BMA said it would spread the industry’s benefits to the rest of Queensland.
Daunia’s open-cut has an expected mine life of 21 years.
Construction of the new Queensland mine took 3million man hours and was achieved without any lost time injury.