Cockatoo Coal has begun mining operations at its Baralaba North expansion project, and will create 200 new mining jobs.
The mine officially opened on May 9 by deputy premier Jeff Seeney, who carried out a ceremonial 'first dig' with Cockatoo Coal managing director Andrew Lawson.
The site itself is a coking coal operation approximately 10kms north of Baralaba in Queensland.
Following its opening the mine will ramp up to one million tonnes per annum, and then following approvals, increase production to 3.5 million tonne per annum.
It will export coal through its Gladstone, at the existing RG Tanna terminal and the new Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal.
At the opening Cockatoo Coal's major shareholder, the Noble Group, also announced the donation of $375 000 to the local community for education, health, and infrastructure resources with the town of Baralaba.
Lawson stated that the groundbreaking ceremony was an important milestone for the miner.
He went on to say "we are well advanced in the process to obtain regulatory approvals to expand the operation to 3.5 million tonnes, and i believe that the timing of the full ramp is well positioned for improved market conditions in the future".
Deputy premier Jeff Seeney added that the first dig is an important occasion for the state.
"This expansion will create 200 new jobs for this region over the next two years and our government is pleased to have played an active role in the project's development, through providing case management support and having declared it a prescribed project," Seeney said.
"This enabled the streamlining of the complex approvals process involving local, state, and federal government. Cockatoo Coal has also benefited from green-tape reduction measures announced last year."