Dean Dalla

Australia-based mining company BHP Billiton has opened its ninth operating metallurgical coal mine, Daunia, in central Queensland.

The company has invested about $1.4bn on the Daunia mine, which is expected to produce 4.5 million tonnes per annum.

In addition, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has committed around $7.7bn for major projects, including the new Caval Ridge mine and the expansion of the HayPoint Coal Terminal, as well as the extension of Broadmeadow mine in Queensland.

The company operates seven BMA mines in Queensland, along with the Hay Point Coal Terminal near Mackay.

BHO will have eight BMA mines when the nearby Caval Ridge mine is completed next year.

BHP has produced 111 million tonnes of coal through its global coal business in the last year.

BHP Billiton coal president Dean Dalla Valle said the company has made substantial capital investments through BMA to increase operations in Queensland.

"In a strong partnership with Mitsubishi, we are the State’s largest coal miner, operating seven BMA metallurgical coal mines in central Queensland, along with the Hay Point Coal Terminal near Mackay," Valle added.

"Construction of the Daunia mine started in 2011 and was completed in July this year, under budget and producing coal four months ahead of schedule. Large coal mines are complex projects, and this is a fantastic achievement for our team."

BHP Billiton also holds Cannington mine, an underground silver lead zinc mine, in north-west Queensland.

Image: BHP Billiton coal president Dean Dalla Valle. Photo: Courtesy of BHP Billiton.