Rio Tinto hires 150 for Hail Creek ramp-up

IN another sign of recovering demand, Rio Tinto is hiring 150 workers to ramp up production at its Hail Creek open cut coking coal mine, 120km southwest of Mackay in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.
Rio Tinto hires 150 for Hail Creek ramp-up Rio Tinto hires 150 for Hail Creek ramp-up Rio Tinto hires 150 for Hail Creek ramp-up Rio Tinto hires 150 for Hail Creek ramp-up Rio Tinto hires 150 for Hail Creek ramp-up

Hail Creek CHPP No. 1.

Blair Price

Hail Creek mine general manager Andrew Woodley said the first wave of new employees was expected to arrive onsite in September, continuing through to the end of the year.

“We have a range of new equipment that will be coming to site over the next six to eight months, including Hail Creek mine's first rope shovel plus ancillary equipment,” he said. “This equipment will all require more people to operate them.

“We will be aiming to continue to target local people for these roles to benefit local employment and the region's economy, and to keep in step with our female employment strategy.”

The positions were first advertised in June and July.

The March quarter was the toughest this year for the coal industry, with production cuts costing thousands of jobs and hitting central Queensland hard.

But China has imported unprecedented levels of coking coal since the quarter as government authorities imposed a new national safety regime, shutting down metallurgical coal operations in the nation’s small mines sector.

According to Macquarie analysts, trade data suggests China imported 16.1 million tonnes of metallurgical coal in the first half of 2009, 1.7Mt lower than the whole of western Europe, and without China’s demand, world metallurgical coal exports would have been down 37% in the period.

While China’s domestic coal production is tipped to return to more normal levels in the next few months, steelmakers around the world have been reopening blast furnaces, following hefty production cuts and a lengthy period of destocking after the global financial crisis kicked in last year.

Hail Creek was opened in 2003 and produced 6Mt of coking coal in 2008.

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