The mine was operated on contracts during the previous 17 years, with Thiess losing this role in late August last year following Xstrata’s merger with commodity giant Glencore.
Another key change brought in by Glencore included redesigning the mine plan to bring in larger scale, productivity-boosting equipment.
Glencore also addressed capacity restraints at the mine’s coal handling and preparation plant – and took on union officials by introducing a new workplace agreement.
“The workforce of 200 that has achieved the production milestone has been largely recruited from local communities,” Glencore said.
“Glencore expects to continue to ramp up operations at Collinsville, depending on market conditions and needs, with plans to produce nearly 3.5 million tonnes of saleable thermal coal by the end of the year.
“In addition to the mine’s workforce, another 50 local contractors are also on site delivering services such as maintenance to mobile equipment and fixed plant, and other support activities.”
The mine’s production capacity was 4.5 million tonnes per annum of thermal and coking coal in 2012 – back when there was a workforce of nearly 500.