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Adani Mining has kicked off work on the box-cut for its Carmichael coal mine, in what new chief executive officer David Boshoff hailed as a significant milestone in the construction schedule.

“We are on track to export first coal in 2021,” Mr Boshoff said.

“It’s great to see our big new gear, the Liebherr R 996B excavator and CAT 796 dump trucks, hard at work.

“In time they will reach the coal seam then we will be excavating coal as we need to remove around four cubic meters of rock for every tonne of coal we mine.”

The company says there are now more than 700 people working on the mine and rail project construction.

Numbers are growing as more contractors arrive to build the coal handling plant and to work on the railway.

Mackay-based G&S Engineering was awarded the contract earlier this month to build the coal handling plant, a task expected to support 200 jobs.

“The expansion of our mine accommodation to 400 beds is complete to cater for the additional workforce and we will soon be able to accommodate another 1200 people in our temporary rail accommodation villages,” Mr Boshoff said.

“We remain on track to deliver 1500 direct and 6750 indirect jobs.”

The coal will be mined using conventional truck and excavator mining techniques across the project.

“Our first five mining trucks and excavator have arrived on site and are operational and the assembly of our second excavator will commence in the coming weeks,” Mr Boshoff said.

“We will also add more than a dozen mining trucks to our fleet over the coming months. The trucks will be assembled in Mackay, with each taking a team of about 40 men and women up to 10 weeks to put together before they are transported more than 300km to site.”

The Carmichael coal mine is expected to produce 10 million tonnes of high-quality thermal coal per annum.

Adani says its low-cost profile – such as its 4:1 strip ratio, the quality of the resource and forecast demand from target markets in India and South-East Asia mean that the project’s economics are strong.

IMAGE: CEO David Boshoff celebrates the start of work on the Carmichael coal mine box cut.