Blair Athol Mine
Blair Athol Mine, located 24km north-west of the township of Clermont in the Bowen Basin region of central Queensland, supplied high quality thermal coal to customers in Asia and Europe until it was closed in November 2012. The mine is now being rehabilitated.
Blair Athol Mine was originally a grazing property, Blair Athol Station, named by pastoralist James McLaren in honour of his Scottish birthplace. Coal was discovered on the site in 1864, but at the time the district's gold and copper resources were more sought after and economically viable.
In 1981 a long term contract between Blair Athol Coal (Pacific Coal), Electric Power Development Company of Japan and the Japan Coal Development Co Ltd was signed, for the export of 72 million tonnes of coal over a 15 year period from 1984.
The $450 million five million tonne per annum Blair Athol Coal project was officially launched by then Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson on 6 April 1984 with first coal shipped in May 1984. In the 1990s further expansion took capacity to 12 million tonnes per annum, with an average of 10 million tonnes of high quality thermal coal produced during the next two decades. Production reached a peak of 11.3 million tonnes in 2009.
Infrastructure facilities from Blair Athol Mine such as train loadout and stockpiles are now being used by Rio Tinto Coal Australia's neighbouring Clermont Mine.
Rio Tinto Coal Australia continues to manage the operation on behalf of the joint venture partners - Queensland Coal Pty Ltd (57.2 per cent), Leichhardt Coal Pty Ltd (31.4 per cent), J-Power Australia Pty Ltd (8 per cent) and J.C.D Australia Pty Ltd (3.4 per cent).