Whitehaven Coal’s AUS$767 million surface coal mine at Maules Creek near Boggabri in the New South Wales Gunnedah Basin, has been officially opened by Federal Minister for Industry and Science, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP.
Joining the Minister at the opening was the Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton MP, the State Member for Barwon, the Hon Kevin Humphries MP, Senior Representatives from Whitehaven’s joint venture partners Itochu and J-Power, and other dignitaries and guests.
“Today marks an important milestone in Whitehaven Coal’s growth and transition as a company and is a testament to the performance of our people who have worked tirelessly to deliver this project ahead of time, and under budget,” said CEO, Paul Flynn.
“I particularly welcome the strong support Whitehaven has received today from the Minister, the Federal and State local members of Parliament, and representatives from our local councils who understand the critical role mining plays in building and sustaining economic prosperity in regional Australia.”
The Maules Creek mine commenced railing coal in December 2014 and has been operating commercially since 1 July 2015. It is reported the mine will create approximately 500 new local jobs, and provide AUS$13 million in local infrastructure investment as part of Whitehaven’s Voluntary Planning Agreements with local councils.
“Over the past three years alone, Whitehaven has spent nearly half a billion dollars locally and it’s the local community that will continue to reap the benefit of projects such as Maules Creek for decades to come. Today is a day where we acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of the past few years, but the real story of Maules Creek and the economic opportunity it is bringing to this area is only just starting” Mr Flynn said.
The mine is also setting new standards in terms of its commitment to supporting the local Indigenous community and is already exceeding its voluntary target of 10% Indigenous representation at Maules Creek within the first five years.
Flynn continued: “There are currently 37 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees at Maules Creek and that number expected to rise. By providing real, long-term, training and employment opportunities to local Indigenous people, we are making a genuine contribution to addressing social dislocation and disadvantage.”
He concluded: “The outlook for coal, particularly the type of high-quality, low-ash, low-sulfur coal we are producing at Maules Creek, is very positive. Total NSW coal export volumes have increased by 3.6% over the last financial year, with Japan and Korea – Whitehaven’s key markets – continuing to be the biggest markets for NSW coal. Maules Creek Mine will play a key role in powering the energy needs of North Asia and contribute to compliance with tighter global emissions standard.”
Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/04092015/maules-creek-mine-officially-opened-2818/