It's not all bad: Mackenzie

JOB-cutting BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance will officially open its Caval Ridge open cut coal mine in central Queensland “in the coming week”, according to BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie.

Blair Price

“So it is not all bad news," he told AAP in relation to BMA’s plans to cut 700 jobs, announced last week.

"There is a lot of work we are doing as a company to restore the competitiveness of the Australian coal industry.

"There are quite a few indications that steadily it is getting some mojo back."

Mackenzie, who was at a CSIRO function in Canberra on Monday, also called the job cuts a “little bit of retraction” in central Queensland.

While official launch dates for mines can vary widely, especially if dignitaries are attending, the Gladstone Observer reported in April that the Caval Ridge operation was producing coking coal ahead of schedule even though BHP claimed it was a 98% complete project at the time.

“The project needed 2000 workers during the construction of the open cut mine, with just 500 working onsite now that mine is ticking over,” the newspaper reported in April.

“Although Caval Ridge is likely to be given an official launch, BMA is so far keeping mum on the details.”

Caval Ridge, along with its sister mine Daunia, which BMA opened last year, have both received political and community criticism for being based on 100% fly-in, fly-out workforces.

The Caval Ridge mine is designed to produce 5.5 million tonnes per annum of coal plus process a further 2.5Mtpa from BMA’s nearby Peak Downs mine.

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