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First jobs offered at $896M coal mine reopening

New Hope trucks
New Hope trucks

Nearly a dozen jobseekers will join a coal revival in Queensland’s Darling Downs region.

New Hope Group recently made 10 job offers at the $896 million New Acland Coal Stage 3 Expansion, 53km northwest of Toowoomba.

The employer revealed they are the first recruits since the mine was placed in care and maintenance during November 2021.

“We have currently got 20 [team members] and we have just put on 10 … [and] jobs we have put on so far are at the supervisory and superintendent level. We need those people to do the interviewing [and] to build their teams,” New Acland general manager Dave O’Dwyer said at a press conference.

“Some of the 10 recruited [individuals] are previous employees, some are new employees. They are all people from around the district. Some [will] start just before Christmas and a couple start straight in the New Year.”

A further 90 applicants will be hired early in the New Year with more recruitment waves to follow. Hundreds of supplier expressions of interest have also been collected through the company website. Bidders include construction, earthmoving and food supply companies. One Toowoomba equipment supplier received $6 million in purchase orders and rebuild work.

“Operators [and] maintainers who we need will be coming on board in the New Year. I am looking forward to having 100 by the end of February 2023,” O’Dwyer said.

“We are doing phone interviews [and] face-to-face interviews. We have got more than 1300 applicants, we have just had an ad campaign, and we have got lots and lots of suppliers knocking on the door as well.”

New Acland mobile maintenance and coal handling and preparation plant manager Andy Scouller revealed operator, maintainer and trade vacancies will attract an annual salary exceeding $100,000.

“They are all full-time, shift work at this stage. There may be a couple of casual positions that come up but the majority are full-time,” he said.

“In January, when we are recruiting tradesmen and operators, there will definitely be opportunities for people who are new to the industry.”

O’Dwyer revealed his employer is not strictly rehiring former workers, and will consider suitable candidates from competitors too.

“We are not really giving preference to returning employees, … we are looking at everybody and are just building the best possible workforce we can,” he said.

“We have got assessment centres lined up where we bring large groups of candidates together. We will be running those in January and giving out offers not long after that.”

Early surveying, marking and environmental compliance work is already underway.

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