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Bowen managing director Gerhard Redelinghuys toasts first coal with executive chairman Nick Jorss at Bluff Mine.

Bowen Coking Coal has shipped first coal from its Bluff Mine near Blackwater as the company establishes itself as Queensland’s next independent metallurgical coal producer.

Amid strong coal pricing, Bowen’s first delivery of about 35,000 tonnes of ultra-low volatile pulverised coal injection (ULVPCI) was shipped last week under a sales contract with Formosa Plastics Group, a large diversified multi-national conglomerate headquartered in Taiwan. The sale was agreed under the 50:50 Marketing Joint Venture with Bowen and M Resources, a specialist metallurgical coal trading company.

Bowen managing director Gerhard Redelinghuys said the shipment was a significant achievement for the company, creating hundreds of jobs and paying significant royalties to fund services for all Queenslanders whilst supplying a critical steel making material to the world.

“Following our first shipment from Bluff we will see our production start to ramp up quickly. Further sales from Bluff have been committed for August and September as we see this mine achieving steady state production later in this quarter,’ he said.

“Following the completion of the Burton acquisition, we now have a portfolio of high quality metallurgical coal developments coming online this year as we ramp up to our production target of 5 million tonnes per annum by 2024. We are making great progress at Broadmeadow East, the first of the enlarged Burton complex pits, with first coal mining also expected this quarter.”

The Bluff Mine was acquired by Bowen in December 2021 and significant preparation works were undertaken prior to first coal being mined in April under a contract with HSE Mining.

An additional 3600t digger (the third machine on site) has now been mobilised as support to remove overburden for the pit extension towards the south.

Coal production at Bluff mine is now expected to ramp up to a steady state Run-of-Mine (ROM) target of 80,000t to 100,000t per month by the end of next month, representing an annualised production rate of between 1mtpa and 1.2mtpa ROM over four to six years to supply the global steel industry.

The coal produced from Bluff is washed and loaded on rail under an agreement with the nearby Cook Colliery before being transported to the RG Tanna Coal Terminal at Gladstone for export.

The Cook facility has been in care and maintenance and has recently been re-commissioned. Washing performance is improving and several trains have now been successfully loaded through the facility.