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Blair Athol mine owners bypass FIFO crews

NEW LINC TO FUTURE: Blair Athol coal mine, once the pride of the Bowen Basin thermal deposits, is set to re-open under new ownership.
NEW LINC TO FUTURE: Blair Athol coal mine, once the pride of the Bowen Basin thermal deposits, is set to re-open under new ownership. Contributed

LINC Energy will reveal its plans for the reopening of Blair Athol within four weeks, but one piece of good news has already leaked out - there will be no FIFO workforce.

Michael Mapp, president of Linc's coal division, said the company would offer more than 250 coal mining jobs to locals, bucking the industry trend.

"We're sourcing locally from the local skill set which is definitely in Clermont and we'll be hiring them," Mr Mapp said.

The senior management team from Linc Energy is working on the recruitment process.

"They're in the swing of things now and we'll be addressing the community within four weeks," Mr Mapp said.

Clermont Community and Business Group's Rosemary Haucke said Clermont had been "hurting".

"The mining downturn has hit Clermont hard and fast," she said.

"It's been a rough time out here and Linc buying Blair Athol has given the town some more hope.

"Everyone I've spoken to seems to be fairly excited about it all."

Ms Haucke said the introduction of a second mining company contributing to the community would be good for Clermont.

"It can only be good," she said. "A lot of people have aligned themselves with the one company."

"It's never good to put all your eggs in one basket and it's great to have the opportunity for Clermont to diversify now.

"In a business sense this means more contracts, more money and the possibility of attracting new businesses, which would be great."

Other mining companies should be taking note and start behaving this way, thinking about the towns around them and the impact FIFO has on them

Mr Mapp said the local contract companies would be given new opportunities.

"This will give the contract companies from Clermont and the surrounding towns a chance to show their competitiveness," he said.

"They know the industry and the opportunity for them to prosper will be there, not just mining companies but catering as well because we'll be sourcing meals and similar things through the community."

Mine worker advocate and former State MP Jim Pearce said Linc should be congratulated on its plan for a local workforce.

"It's very, very positive and I wish more companies would follow their lead and look at locals," said Mr Pearce.

"For the town itself this will be great, they've lost jobs in the past and, while I haven't been to Clermont for a while, I'd say they'd be struggling, their small businesses would be in strife and this is going to give them a break.

"Employing locals puts families into a town and Linc should be congratulated as long as they deliver on the promise, they've shown they have an understanding and a passion for local communities.

"Other mining companies should be taking note and start behaving this way, thinking about the towns around them and the impact FIFO has on them."

Mr Mapp said Clermont residents would see Linc's executive general manager of operations Jason O'Rourke in Clermont soon.

"Jason will head to Clermont and he will be running through the recruitment and management process with the locals to see how they feel, see how it will all work and then we can get started," he said.

"Hopefully the town will be on board.

"This is going to be great for the town, we're looking at Clermont as a great place to start up and grow our company so they'll be helping us just as much as we'll be helping them hopefully."

Topics:  blair athol coal mine clermont coal mining resources



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