Blair Athol mine
|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Australia and coal|
The Blair Athol mine is an open cut coal mine located 20 kilometres north west of Clermont in the Bowen Basin in central Queensland. Rio Tinto Coal Australia, which has a 71 per cent interest in the mine, states on its website that coal from the mine is sold to "customers in Asia and Europe with up to 12 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum." The mine is scheduled to close by the end of 2012.
Rio Tinto states that the "coal deposit was originally discovered on the site in 1864 and was first mined in 1890. Between 1920 and 1945 coal was mined with an underground method, which is still visible today. The current open cut operation started in 1984. Blair Athol Mine is due to close in 2016 when its reserves are completely mined out. Its stockpile and train facilities will be used by the Clermont mine, currently under construction.
On its website, Rio Tinto states that as of the end of 2008 the mine employed 217 people.
In August 2012 Rio Tinto announced that it planned to close the mine by the end of the year. The company stated that the "coal seams are largely mined out" and attributed the decision to close to the "recent significant drop in thermal coal prices, and other factors such as rising costs and the foreign exchange rate.
As of August 2012, the company's website stated that the mine was due to close in 2016. However, when announcing the closure the company claimed that  "since 2005, Rio Tinto had planned to close the mine at the end of this year"  but had decided to extend the mine when prices rose substantially.
Rio Tinto Coal Australia "manages the operation on behalf of the joint venture partners - Queensland Coal Pty Limited (57.2 per cent), Leichhardt Coal Pty Limited (31.4 per cent), J-Power Australia Pty. Ltd. (8 per cent) and J.C.D Australia Pty. Ltd. (3.4 per cent).