Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan officially opened the Byerwen coal mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. The operation — a joint venture between Japan’s JFE Steel and the QCoal Group — will deliver around 10 million metric tons (mt) of hard coking coal to be used in steel production in overseas markets each year.

Minister Canavan said the opening of the QCoal Group-owned mine symbolized the resilience of Queensland’s coal industry, which delivered more than $3 billion in direct wages, $3.8 billion in royalties and almost 37,000 jobs for the state in 2017-2018.

“This mine has already contributed significantly to the region’s job numbers and will continue to do so over its potential 50-year lifespan,” Minister Canavan said. “It also enhances our trade relationships with other nations, which rely on our high-quality coking coal to produce the steel they need to grow and prosper.”

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said about 1,000 people worked on construction of Byerwen mine, with 14% indigenous employment.

“The mine is expected to have a permanent workforce of more than 500 people when construction is finished, with around 5% of those to be indigenous,” Landry said. “Every one of those workers embodies the prosperity created by our mining sector, the advantages it brings to Australia and the resilience of regional communities in Queensland.”