BHP Billiton counts the costs of lost coal production

IN THE final three months before a ceasefire was brokered between BHP Billiton's Central Queensland coal mines and workers, more than one million tonnes of coal production was lost across six mines.

In its September production report, released on Wednesday, the international resources powerhouse stated it delivered 5.18 million tonnes of coal from its Bowen Basin projects in July, August and September, compared to just 4.1 million in the three months before.

And that was despite the mothballing of Norwich Park which mined 193,000 tonnes on its own.

The fight between BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance and the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union's mining division grew increasingly aggressive before ongoing industrial action was suspended in the first week of July.

After two years, Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten was understood to have brought in former ACTU boss Bill Kelty to broker a peace deal.

Across all its coal projects, BHP Billiton reported it was now ramping up its production with an employee ballot on an enterprise agreement due to be held this month.

According to BHP, "Production at BMA benefited from a reduction in industrial activity with no significant work stoppages experienced since July 2012".

It also reaffirmed the plan to shut the Gregory Crinum mine near Emerald which was now producing less than half the coal being dug up at Goonyella Riverside, west of Mackay.

BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers is expected to address a Brisbane Mining Club luncheon on Wednesday.

The CFMEU did not respond to questions before deadline on Wednesday.



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