Ensham bucks the coal trend Mine expansion boosts jobs
A BEACON of hope has emerged in the bleak Bowen Basin coalmining landscape, with Ensham Mine green- lighted for a $35 million expansion that will create 54 new jobs.
A new production unit could be cutting coal at Ensham's bord and pillar underground operation by June next year, mine general manager Steve Kovac said.
The expansion would increase the mine's capacity by about 30%, to an output of 2.4 million tonnes a year.
"Our preference would be (to employ) local people, but because we work on a seven- on, seven-off roster that gives people options about how they commute," Mr Kovac said.
"We will probably start our employment process in the next month or so and we haven't decided if we're going to advertise widely or not because of the amount of response we expect to get."
Mr Kovac said the expansion had been on the planning board since 2012, before coal prices collapsed, and joint venture owners Idemitsu Australia Resources and LG International were won over by the strength of the performance of the underground arm opened in 2011.
"It has taken us a long time to satisfy the owners we could deliver from the existing underground mine what we said we could," he said.
"That has been the trigger - very much the excellent performance the boys have had at the underground, exceeding all expectations of productivity.
"In the last 12 months, we have been really just going from strength to strength."
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