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Blair Athol Mine to close

By Staff Reporter
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Blair Athol Mine, near Clermont in Central Queensland, will cease operating this year.

Operating for nearly 30 years under Rio Tinto Coal Australia, the mine has been progressively scaling down since 2010.

Despite the closure, investors in the Central Queensland area can still feel safe with the Clermont Mine still in operation, as well as new projects in surrounding areas such as Emerald and Blackwater. The region is also driven by its agricultural industry.

Clermont Region general manager operations Dawid Pretorius said the mine has been in a transition towards closure since 2010.

“Since 2005, Rio Tinto had planned to close the mine at the end of this year and consulted with its community consultative committee and workforce. However, as coal prices rose in recent times we looked to extend the life of the mine by mining a poorer quality coal and harder to reach seam for a few more years. Unfortunately, the recent significant drop in thermal coal prices, and other factors such as rising costs and the foreign exchange rate mean this is no longer a feasible option and we will keep to the original plan to finish production in 2012.

“The final day of production at Blair Athol Mine will depend on the progress of mining operations over coming months, but we expect it will be before December,” he said.

Rio Tinto Coal Australia has consulted with workers over several years about their futures after mining stops at Blair Athol Mine.
There are currently around 170 employees and contractors working at the operation.

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