Coal production has started at the Rio Tinto Kestrel Mine Extension in Queensland. The $2 billion (US) dollar project is located 40 km north east of Emerald in central Queensland.
The new development has created a sustainable 400 mining jobs and added a further 20 years to the life of the underground longwall operation.
The high quality coking coal from this project is scheduled for export, with expected shipment to begin around August 2013.
Mr John Coughlan general manager operations of Kestrel Mine said “After 4 years of construction, seeing the longwall cutting coal is an exciting milestone and marks the start of a long future for Kestrel Mine. “Ě
Rio Tinto Underground Mining Operations
Over the next 18 months, Rio Tinto will wind down existing production from Kestrel North as the new longwall at Kestrel South ramps up. It is expected that Kestrel South will reach full coal production capacity by the end of 2014. The Kestrel Mine Extension project meant building completely a new longwall, with a 7.9 kilometer overland conveyor. Upgrades to the existing Coal Handling and Preparation Plant have also been implemented. This allows a new range of underground panels to be mined to the south of the existing operation.
Rio Tinto have announced they expect to dig out an average of 5.7 million tonnes of high quality coking coal per annum over the next 20 years.”Ě This is a boost for Queensland jobs in mining as the market still adjusts from the reduction in the price of the precious commodity.
The new longwall is expected to† deliver a higher level of safety and production improvements, sighting automation as a contributing factor to the success of the operation.
Good news for jobs in mining
Queensland jobs in mining for a workforce of more than 400 employees will allow Kestrel Mine to continue its significant contribution to the local community.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Electrical Union district vice president Stephen Smyth said new mining projects are still coming online despite the downturn.
“The industry isn’t as bad as what people are making out,” he said, and added that mining operations had been mismanaged by management during the high price era, not taking into account the industry`s cyclical nature, with some mining companies laying off fulltime workers and then bringing them back on as contractors.
This is not unlike any other industry in the world that looks for new ways to remain competitive in an ever-increasing global market. It’s a trend that is purely designed to reduce the burden placed on having full-time staff on payroll and should not be looked at as the end of the end in terms of employment. Often when workers go from full-time to contract, there are increases in hourly rates and contractors can gain significant financial benefits by doing so.
Coking Coal Prices Set To Rise
The coking coal market is now drifting towards signs of revival, making many steel manufacturers uncomfortable as they have enjoyed some good pricing over the last year or so.† In 2011, coking coal rose to enormous heights of USD 320-330 per tonne, dropping dramatically to a level of USD 140-145 per tonne in Q3 of 2012.† The spot price of hard coking coal has risen by USD 5-10 per tonne touching USD 145-150 per tonne during the week ending 14th July 2013.
Most of the steel mills in India and China had been given the nod for the use of high quality Australian coking coal it was only a matter of time before the stock depletion tilted the advantage in their favor.† Indian mills have been out in the market trying to purchase their coking coal at the best possible price, regardless of quality in the range of USD 170 per tonne.
Despite the push to import cheaper US coking coal (which has a higher sulphur content), Indian government companies are still insisting on their preference of Australian coking coal. This is a good indication that Australian mining companies and their coal mining operations are producing world-class products that countries like India rely on to drive their economy.
As a result the Australian miners continue to sell at prices which are higher than US coke. Citing quality and technical reasons Indian companies continue to buy higher quantity of more expensive Aussie coals.
Rio Tinto Community Development
Just by having the Rio Tinto operation in the community creates a micro-economy allowing the mining company to buy goods and services from around 169 suppliers in the region. Just this alone, injects around 130 million dollars into the local economy.
Through the Kestrel Mine Community Development Fund and the Kestrel Mine Aboriginal Community Development Fund over than 2 million (US dollars) has been invested in local community projects since 2003.
Rio Tinto jobs
Contact Rio Tinto to find out more about how to get a job in the mines at the underground longwall operation.
PO Box 1969
Emerald, Queensland 4720
T: +61 (0) 7 4984 7500
Reference: Queensland Jobs in Mining Rio Tinto Kestrel Mining Operations