Oh happy day! Rio in the pink with mine expansion
IN A time of dreary expectations for the resources industry, a bright pink mining machine has cut through the gloom.
The $2.1 billion expansion of Rio Tinto's Kestrel Mine in Central Queensland will breathe another 20 years of life into the operation.
Against a backdrop of jobs being lost in their thousands in the region, thanks to poor world conditions, Rio starting production at the underground mine marks a pleasant departure from the bad news.
In images supplied by Rio Tinto, the company showed off its pink "longwall shearer" shaving the underground wall of coal.
During construction, Kestrel's development supplied the region with 250 construction jobs with operations being taken over by those working at the current Kestrel site.
Rio Kestrel Mine operations general manager John Coughlan said the start of production was the start of a long future for the site.
Mr Coughlan said first exports would come within weeks.