It signals a major rebalancing of employment opportunities in the coal mining industry.
BMA has thrown a wide net for applicants and is prepared to train “cleanskins” to suit the particular requirements of the mines.
A spokeswoman for BMA said: “The applications for these roles have closed and BMA received an overwhelming response from people in the Cairns region, including women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people with limited coal mining experience.
“The recruitment team is working through the next stage of the recruitment process and will soon be conducting a series of assessment centres in Cairns as the next important step in the recruitment process.”
New fly-in, fly-out recruits from Cairns will start work mid-year, the company said.
BMA asset president Stephen Dumble said Cairns was the ideal regional location for the company to source a portion of the non‐residential workforce for its two major new growth projects, and that the region would benefit through the creation of jobs and other economic benefits.
“Our assessment suggests that there is capacity for workers to come from Brisbane and Cairns without impacting on our existing regional employment markets,” he said.
“We are looking for a combination of work-ready employees and new coal industry recruits for operator trades and processing roles, which will commence in mid 2013.
“The Cairns region has a strong history of providing skilled people into other sectors of the mining industry.
“BMA will now commence a recruitment campaign in the region, and will provide appropriate training for new industry recruits.”
BMA said last month its Daunia mine achieved first-quarter production ahead of schedule. It says the ramp-up of the mine and the future commissioning of Caval Ridge will underpin an increase in the capacity of its Queensland coal business to 66 million tonnes per annum.
The Queensland coal industry is seeking to diversify its pool of workers with a greater emphasis on recruiting women.
The first female open-cut examiner and shift boss at NSW’s largest open-cut coal mine, and now Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s NSW regional manager for resource development, won this year's Queensland Resources Council's Resources Awards for Women.
Brisbane-based Heather Bell's career spans 11years across a range of sites in Queensland and New South Wales in technical, corporate and managerial roles. She is Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s NSW regional manager for resource development.
At just 33, she is the youngest manager and only female in her team to work across two states.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the awards, which lifted the profile of women in the minerals and energy sector and provided a cohort of female industry ambassadors, were part of the QRC's plan to increase the proportion of women in “non-traditional” roles in the resources sector to 20% by 2020.