Byerwen officially opened

THE $1.76 billion Byerwen mine in central Queensland, which will employ 350 people during construction and 500 in full production, was officially opened yesterday.
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Federal Resources minister Matt Canavan.

The expansion is a joint venture between Qcoal and JFE Steel.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the expansion of Queensland's newest coal mine.

 "This is a great day for Queensland and a great day for Queensland jobs," the Premier said.

"JFE Steel is one of our biggest customers and partners and there simply is no other way to make steel than with metallurgical coal."

The mine is located 20km west of Glenden in the Bowen Basin.

Production over the life of the Byerwen mine project is expected to rise from 3 million tonnes per annum to 10Mtpa.

JFE is one of Queensland's biggest customers of coal, purchasing 15Mt of metallurgical coal from Queensland.

The mining leases for the Byerwen coal project were granted in April 2017, facilitating the first mining operations to begin at the end of last year and the first shipment of metallurgical coal to the Fukuyama steel works in January this year.

The Premier said it was another example of the government's support for resources industries.

"My government has supported the growth of the resources industry, facilitating $20 billion worth of investment and more than 7000 jobs," she said.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan said coal from the mine will be exported to Japan, Europe, India and a number of South East Asian markets for use in steel production and in some cases, the continued industrialisation and development of those countries.

"Our coal exports played a big part in Australia recently registering its first current account surplus since 1975," he said. "The ABS attributes that to continuing high prices combined with growing volumes of resources exports, including coal."

Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said recent international trade data showed the value of coal and mineral exports was up by over 13% on the previous year.

"Demand for Queensland resources will continue to grow, driven by global population growth," Dr Lynham said.

"Queensland has a strong future when it comes to coal - demand for metallurgical coal will stay with us as customers like India and China and Japan continue to need steel.

"We have new projects with coordinated approval like Olive Downs and Winchester South near Moranbah.

"And of course, this means not just jobs now and into the future, but also royalties that help fund our teachers and nurses and police officers."

The Byerwen coal project is just the first of a number of metallurgical coal projects being facilitated by the Queensland government.

The Coordinator-General is now progressing approvals on the $1 billion Olive Downs metallurgical coal mine 40 kilometres south east of Moranbah that will support 1,000 operational jobs and 500 construction jobs, and the $1 billion Winchester South coal project near Moranbah that will support another $1 billion of investment and 950 jobs.