JUST over a year ago, Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine officially opened and the company says it’s been kicking goals ever since.
At last count, the mine employed 390 people – just under half of the company’s total 850 employees.
Whitehaven says most live locally, with 80 per cent of its workforce living in the area of operations.
It’s also striving to provide equal employment opportunities, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders making up 13 per cent of the Maules Creek workforce, while females make up 15 per cent.
In the year since opening, the Maules Creek mine has won two significant awards.
The operation was named Mine of the Year by the NSW Minerals Council, while the mine’s Aboriginal Employment Program was honoured at the same organisation’s Health Safety Environment and Community Awards earlier this month.
Whitehaven said a key feature of Maules Creek’s performance during the 2016 financial year was the high quality of its thermal and metallurgical coal products, which is one of the highest quality coals sold into the Asian seaborne market.
“Many of our customers are utilising this high energy, low ash coal in new High Energy Low Emission technology power stations to reduce their emissions, [so] Gunnedah Basin coal is helping reduce global carbon emissions,” the company said.
In the last financial year, Whitehaven paid $203m to local businesses and suppliers in the Gunnedah Basin and North West region, with Maules Creek “by far the biggest component” of the spending.
More than $13.4m has been distributed to council projects through the Maules Creek Voluntary Planning Agreement, which has funded the Narrabri airport upgrade and improved water supply infrastructure at Baan Baa.
Over the last three years, various Boggabri projects have received $800,000.
The mine recently received new equipment that will allow it to increase its output by an additional million tonnes by mid-2017.