Whitehaven Coal has started the hiring process at its $767m Maules Creek project in Gunnedah Basin of Australia, ahead of the proposed operations in August.

Claimed to be the Australia’s largest coal mine under construction, the project is expected to employ approximately 450 workers when operating at full capacity.

Under the first phase of recruitment, the company plans to hire production operators and maintenance technicians. The remaining positions will be filled upon achieving the production goal of six million tonnes of coal in the initial year.

Maules Creek is expected to produce 13 million tonnes a year at full production including 10.5 million tonnes of saleable coal, reported Mining Australia.

"The project is expected to employ approximately 450 workers when operating at full capacity."

The company had earlier stated that around 85% of the mine workers will be sourced from the Gunnedah, Tamworth, Narrabri and Liverpool Plains areas.

Whitehaven Coal Maules Creek general manager Peter Wilkinson said that one of the primary goals of the recruitment process is to have a local workforce at the Maules Creek operation, wherever that is possible.

"Additionally there will be an emphasis on engaging female and Aboriginal community members. This first phase of recruitment demonstrates our commitment to the local area and shows the economic and employment benefits that Maules Creek is bringing to the community," Wilkinson said.

The project is expected to pay more than $40m a year in wages to the local community and an estimated $6.5bn in royalties and corporate tax during the mine’s 21-year life time.

The construction of the mine is on-budget and schedule and the first coal will be railed in March 2015, according to the company.