The bulk of the heavy equipment has been assembled and is ready to roll at the new Meteor Downs South coal mine, 45km south-east of Springsure.
Minerva mine operator Sojitz Coal Mining is developing the thermal coal mine in joint venture with U&D Mining.
Sojitz Coal Mining managing director and chief executive officer Cameron Vorias said 95 per cent of the new operation’s equipment was on site and had been assembled at the mine infrastructure area.
Commissioning will take place next week, with the equipment due to begin earthworks in the mine production area on Wednesday.
Mr Vorias said first coal was expected in late February/early March depending on the weather.
“It has been a fabulous effort from the whole team at Meteor to be able to bring a mine on in what is really just less than three months,” he said.
“To be able to generate a mine at that sort of level of capacity in that sort of timeframe has been extraordinary.”
The truck and shovel operation is expected to produce about 500,000 tonnes per annum for the first two years, when Meteor Downs South will rely on road haulage to get its coal to the Minerva rail load-out facility for transport to Gladstone port.
This will be ramped up to 1.5Mtpa when a rail load-out facility comes online.
Mr Vorias said the Meteor Downs South fleet was supplied through Hastings Deering and included a Caterpillar 6040 excavator, four Cat 789C mining trucks, D10T and D11T dozers, a 16M grader, a Cat 336DL excavator and a water cart.
Other recent development work at the site has included completion of an 8km road and the start of work on the mine infrastructure area.
“The majority of the workforce is now in place and the bulk of those people have come out of the Springsure area,” Mr Vorias said.
“We have trained them up at Minerva and they are progressively moved into MDS as the resources are required.”