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New mine pit explorating leads to 250 CQ jobs

LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE: First load of dirt from the new south pit at Minerva Mine.
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE: First load of dirt from the new south pit at Minerva Mine. Sam Bramble

IN A PERIOD of uncertainty for many Central Queensland miners, Sojitz's Minerva mine has now secured 250 jobs at the site for a further four years.

The job certainty comes after the mine operator decided to explore a new pit.

Sojitz CEO Cameron Vorias said the area, south pit, was an extension of the pit the company had previously mined.

"Twelve to 15 months ago we started exploring the area of coal left behind by previous owners," he said.

"We now have developed it into an economic resource, which we started to mine in April 1."

Mining the new pit has the ability to extend the mine life until 2021.

"The previous lifespan of the mine was toward the end of this year," Mr Vorias said.

Mr Vorias said it was the effort of all staff at Minerva mine that has made it possible to continue production.

"The hard work of everyone at Minerva has enabled the us to continue to grow despite the past five years of downturn in the coal industry," he said.

"Our employees are some of the best in the industry."

The maintenance and extension of Minerva mine is just the beginning for the company in the Central Queensland region, with more projects in the works.

The company also has a thermal coal joint venture with U&D Coal, the Meteor Downs South mine, located between Rolleston and Springsure.

The mine project, due to kick off this year will bring more jobs to the region.

"We are talking about Meteor Downs South mine, to commence operations before the end of the year," Mr Vorias said.

"The new project will offer between 40 and 50 jobs.

"It means in the area we are looking at a brand new mine as well as maintaining a mine."

To ensure locals can keep-up-to-date with the Meteor Downs South project, Sojitz is developing a Facebook page which will be operational within two weeks.

"We are creating the social media page to keep the community up-to-date on the project and also inform them of employment opportunities," Mr Vorias said.

At a time when many mines are cutting staff, the future looks vast for Sojitz in Central Queensland.

Mr Vorias said the company was committed to ensuring ongoing employment for many years.

"Our objective in the region is to invest in the coal mining industry," he said.

"We are looking at other investments in the Emerald area."

Topics:  mining

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