Queensland approves Blair Athol coal mine, 600 jobs on the way

Queensland’s department of natural resources and mines (DNRM) has approved the move of the Blair Athol coal mine to TerraCom subsidiary Orion Mining.

The department approved the transfer of the mining lease following Orion Mining’s acquisition of the mine from Rio Tinto last year. Blair Athol was purchased for $1, with the Queensland Government receiving $79.6 million to meet its rehabilitation costs.

The acquisition included the mining lease, related licenses, land, site infrastructure, active contracts, as well as all mining plant and equipment. TerraCom will also relocate its corporate office to Clermont as part of the acquisition.

Blair Athol later received a two-year mine life extension, taking it to up to seven years.

TerraCom plans to commence more than 50ha of site rehabilitation as it brings the mine back into production.

Blair Athol is expected to deliver 2Mtpa of coking coal and recommence operations in the first quarter of 2017. The mine is set to bring 150 direct jobs and another 450 indirect jobs in the region, according to the Gladstone Observer. 

With the successful approval, the Blair Athol mine, together with TerraCom’s producing Baruun Noyon Uul coking coal mine in Mongolia, will enable it to capitalise on the strong coking coal and thermal coal markets.

TerraCom is also considering the acquisition of a hard coking coal mine in Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The approval is subject to a number of conditions including Orion Mining demonstrating it has arrangements in place for access to a coal handling and preparation plant for crushing and washing; guaranteed rail loading of coal and transportation to market; and a secure water supply.

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