Stanmore Coal to reopen Isaac Plains mine near Moranbah despite resources downturn

The Mayor of the Isaac Regional Council says she hopes the reopening of a Bowen Basin coal mine will be a catalyst for other mining companies across central Queensland.

Stanmore Coal said it would reopen the Isaac Plains mine near Moranbah, that was closed by the previous owners in 2014.

The company said it would employ 150 workers through contracting firm Golding, when the mine reopens next February, half the workforce in place when it closed.

Mayor Anne Baker said it was unusual for mines to open during a downturn.

“Coal mines don’t generally open when you’re in the middle of a downturn, so this is certainly an encouraging step forward and potentially a catalyst for change of how history has been when we’ve seen a company like Stanmore Coal have the confidence to restart production at Isaac Plains,” she said.

She said the mine would bring flow-on benefits to local workers, contractors and suppliers.

“What they’ve made very clear to us is that the people in the local area and the regional area will have the opportunity to apply for these jobs,” she said.

“With that brings people residing in your community, support for your local businesses and at the current climate and the times that we’ve been experiencing, it’s very good news for Isaac council.”

Low-cost approach

Stanmore managing director Nick Jorss said it had implemented a low-cost approach to the operation.

“I think it’s going to stay tough for a while but in the longer term it will recover.”

Nick Jorss

“No we’re confident. I mean we’ve spent a year getting to this point, doing the numbers, working with the mining contractor, spent five months working with Golding to get to this point and the award,” he said.

“So we’re confident we’ve got a low cost base and we’ll get through this period.”

He said the fundamentals for coking coal were very good.

“Coking coal is a very scarce resource. The steel-making industry is not going anywhere and some of the best coking coal in the world is being consumed at a rapid pace,” he said.

“So people need cars, people need coal for all sorts of things, so absolutely, we’re very positive about [the] coking coal outlook.

“I think it’s going to stay tough for a while but in the longer term it will recover.”

‘Great synergies’ for coal company

The Queensland Resources Council’s chief executive, Michael Roche, said Stanmore had improved the mine’s efficiency.

“The company’s had a very close look at this asset and have worked out a way to make money from mining there and the company also has some other coal deposits nearby,” he said.

“So there are great synergies out of this operation for Stanmore Coal, so I think we will see more good news coming out of Stanmore Coal over the next year or so.”

By Harriet Tatham, Melissa Maddison and Paul Robinson

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/isaac-plains-coal-mine-near-moranbah-to-reopen-next-year/7036866