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The Gregory- Crinum underground coal mine near Emerald in the Bowen Basin Region of Central Queensland, is owned by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), with BHP Billiton owning 50 percent of BMA. The mine, located 45 Kilometres north east of Emerald, was originally worked as an open pit coal mine and changed to an underground long wall operation in 1997. Coal is beneficiated at the on site processing plant that has a capacity of handling five million tonnes of metallurgical coal a year.

Coal From the Gregory Mine is Exported Overseas

The Gregory – Crinum Mine uses flotation, spirials and heavy medium cyclones to produce thermal, soft coking and hard coking coal for the export market. A stockpile of 100,000 tonnes is held at the mine site to await loading onto railway wagons that take it the 380 kilometres to the Gladstone port from where it is shipped to the company's overseas customers. The mine has an inferred and indicated resource of 154,200 million tonnes of thermal and coking coal and proven probable reserves of 39,500 million tonnes of coking coal as at the end of the financial year 2009/10.

Extreme Weather Effects Mine Viability

Extreme weather conditions have taken its toll on the future viability of the mine however, with the owners seriously considering its sale. Recent statements regarding the sale of the mine have workers worried, especially since the open cut operation was closed in October 2012 because of what the company called 'production cost blow outs.' Fifty five mine workers either took redundancy or were redeployed and 242 contractors lost their contracts when the Gregory open cut was closed.

Gregory Mine Could be Placed On Sale

It is believed that the Gregory – Crinum Mine would be an attractive proposition for a mining company seeking a smaller operation such as the Gregory mine offers. It has a five year life of mine at present production levels where four of six cuts have already been made to the long wall. There are also known reserves at N - block that could give it a further ten years. The long wall is now a reality with no further development required. However, no final decision is expected from BMA within the next six or nine months. Demand for coal remains strong particularly from the Chinese and Indian markets although it is not expected buyers would be willing to pay the price's of pre Global Financial Crisis (GFC) times.

A new Generation Underground Coal Mine

The Gregory – Crinum operation is considered to be one of Queensland's new generation underground projects having produced its first long wall coal in 1997. Access is gained via two declines as well as an 85 metre deep ventilation shaft that is six metres in diameter. Thiess contractors developed both the shaft and decline. Main in-seam infrastructure development is obtained with the use of three remote controlled continuous miners along with crawler mounted mobile bootends. These bootends advance the conveyor behind the continuous miner therefore allowing continuous development. The continuous miners are fitted with rib bolters and ARO roof that allows sametime support and gateroad drivage. Mining takes place between 80 and 220 metres below the surface with the long wall considered to be state-of-art as far as face supports and shearer activities are concerned.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA)

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi AllianceBMA as it is known is an alliance between BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi, BMA owns and operates seven coal mines in the Bowen BasinGoonyella Riverside Broadmeadow Peak Downs Saraji Norwich Park Gregory Crinum Blackwater The BHP Mitsubishi Alliance...........read more


BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA)
71 Eagle Street
Brisbane, QLD 4000



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