OFF AND RUNNING: Bluff PCI mine owners and management pictured at Gladstone Port with the first coal shipment.
OFF AND RUNNING: Bluff PCI mine owners and management pictured at Gladstone Port with the first coal shipment. Contributed

First coal shipped out of CQ mine

THE first coal has been shipped from Bluff to Japan, according to a company update.

CEO of Bluff PCI Management Stuart Clarke said this first shipment was a sign that production is well on track at the 1.2Mtpa mine, 20km east of Blackwater.

The Bluff PCI Project exports low-volatile PCI coal for steel production.

This first shipment was destined for Japan, Mr Clarke said, adding "the shipment filled one hold of a vessel".

"Our production levels are for about 1.2Mtpa and certainly we're hitting that.

"We've currently got enough coal on stockpile and coming out of the pit to say that we're in steady state production."

Mr Clarke said more than 140 Central Queenslanders were employed by the project, operated by MACA's contract mining division.

"There is about 30% employment from the Blackwater and Bluff region," Mr Clarke said. "There's also others from the Rockhampton region.

"So there's been people that have moved to Bluff, directly associated with the project, which is a good thing."

Clarke said his company and MACA planned to cement themselves in the Bluff region.

"The mine life is about 10 years and we think we've got an important part to play in the Bluff region, certainly the shorter term," Mr Clarke said.

"Longer term we are looking at other deposits in the area.

"And making sure that MACA and ourselves are integrated into the Bluff township."

Production in Bluff kicked off late last year after years of planning and MACA executed a 'life of mine' contract with Carabella Resources Pty Ltd for the provision of mining services last August.

"Carabella Resources started doing planning for the mine back in 2011 and since November last year we've actively working on site," Mr Clarke said. "The first coal was mined in February."

Since then, the Bluff Minesite team has worked hand-in-hand with the local community to build strong partnerships, including sponsorship of the Bluff Rabbitohs and the Bluff Races.

"Both ourselves and MACA have got on board in supporting the Bluff Rabbitohs and the races that have been postponed," Mr Clarke said.

"Also assisting the school with providing transport where required so we are trying to keep it specific with the Bluff region."

Mr Clarke said the project had also formed a partnership with Bounty Mining to increase the utilisation of the Cook CHPP and train load out facility.

"At the moment, with a couple of years relationship with them, to wash our coal and use the train load out so there's additional capacity," Mr Clarke said.

"It saves having to build a prep plant on site and could utilise existing capacity within the region."