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Rio Tinto’s Clermont Coal Mine has opened

Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s new $1.3 billion Clermont thermal coal mine has opened 12 kilometres north-west of Clermont in central Queensland.

The Clermont Mine, which employed 400 people in the construction phase and up to 380 workers during operation, will produce more than 12 million tonnes of high quality thermal coal a year from 2013.

An additional 260 experienced contract operators were also assisting in the mine operation’s ramp-up. There are a number of factors which distinguished the Clermont Mine from other Rio Tinto Coal Australia operations and other companies’ coal mines.

Firstly, women make up more than 27 per cent of the site’s workforce which is above the state industry average of 11 per cent.

This mine has won a number of state and national awards for its proactive approach to recruiting women, particularly in non-traditional roles including truck drivers and operators. Indigenous women make up 8.5 per cent of the female workforce.

The Clermont coal will be sent via a 13.3 kilometre conveyor to the Blair Athol Mine and then transported on existing rail network to port for export to Japan, Korea and Thailand.

The Clermont Mine will also have Rio Tinto Coal’s only in pit crusher conveyor system which will cut annual haul truck running costs by more than 35 per cent – thereby reducing the mine’s carbon footprint.

The company has previously flagged that the Blair Athol Mine is scheduled to close in 2016.

Queensland coal exports increased in 2009-10 to over 180 million tonnes, generating around $25 billion in sales.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Energy, Doug Ritchie, said: "Clermont Mine will continue our legacy in the region long after our neighbouring Blair Athol Mine runs out of resources."

The Clermont operation, which has reserves of 189 million tonnes, is expected to have a mine life of about 17 years. The Clermont project could support 3,800 jobs throughout the Queensland economy during operations with more than 3,000 in the Mackay region.

The Project could contribute about $500 million a year to Queensland’s Gross State Product, as well as $100 million a year to the State in royalties and rail freight charges.

Rio Tinto Coal Australia owns 50.1 per cent of the Clermont mine. The other joint venture owners are Mitsubishi Development (31.4 per cent), J-Power Australia (15 per cent) and JCD Australia (3.5 per cent).

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