The Queensland government has welcomed the recently proposed acquisition of the Blair Athol coal mine, claiming it will create jobs and boost the economy.
New Emerald Coal, a subsidiary of Linc Energy, announced that it was entering into a sale and purchase agreement with the Blair Athol Coal joint venture to take control of the mine, which has been out of commission since last November.
The news may encourage those currently receiving mining training, with natural resources and mines minister Andrew Cripps highlighting the positive effects on the industry.
While the resources sector has experienced low prices and depressed capital markets, he stated, this decision shows how much faith there still is in the future of coal and Queensland.
“The Blair Athol Mine, which ceased operation in November 2012, is expected to produce up to three million tonnes of thermal coal per year once operations recommence and create more than 100 jobs,” he said.
“Its reopening will help boost business in the region, with reciprocal benefits to be felt across the state.”
Mr Cripps said his department has worked hard to ensure there is a creative and supportive environment under which the state’s resources industry can thrive.
In fact, mining is one of the four key economic pillars in the Queensland economy, he added.
Rio Tinto manages the Blair Athol Coal joint venture and one expert believes the sale is good value for the mining giant.
Glyn Lawcock, a Sydney-based mining analyst at UBS, told the Wall Street Journal that it is great business considering the mine was considered a closed asset due to it ceasing operation.
“Someone else might have a slightly different vision on what they want to do with the mine and what direction coal prices are headed,” he said.
The mine is thought to have at least ten million metric tonnes of coal left, with an annual peak haul of 11.3 million tonnes extracted in 2009.