David Pahlke
David Pahlke Sarah Keayes

Rosewood mine era set to end

THE IMPENDING closure of the New Oakleigh mine at Rosewood will bring to a close a proud era of open-cut coal mining at the site.

The mine has come to the end of its productive life and is expected to cease operations early next year.

The fate of the 30 employees at the site is still unclear but the mine's owner, New Hope Group, said it was working with the staff to find them other positions within the company.

Production at New Oakleigh has been in decline, with only 350,000 tonnes of coal produced in 2012.

The original Oakleigh Colliery company began in 1948 when the Rule family acquired the mine near Rosewood, which had started as a pick and shovel operation.

New Hope bought the Oakleigh mine from then owners Sumitomo Coal in 1999 at a time when the declining export market and Australian dollar further increased pressure on local mining operations.

Ipswich councillor David Pahlke said the closure would mark the end of an era on a couple of fronts.

"There are 60 to 120 coal truck movements that go through the main street of Rosewood every day ... and that will cease," Cr Pahlke told the QT.

"That has been a bone of contention with residents for 20 years.

"When the mining ceases, so will the coal trucks going through town. It truly is the end of an era.

"It is also part of our history and I have suggested to New Hope that they have an occasion to make the last of the Oakleigh Colliery coal coming out."

New Hope Group's chief operating officer Bruce Denney said his company, which formed in Ipswich in 1952, would continue its strong local links to the Ipswich community through its nearby Jeebropilly mine.

"New Oakleigh has been a major economic spur to the region since its beginnings in the early part of the last century," he said.

"New Hope's high proportion of long-term staff members also have very fond memories of this area's coalmining history and in particular the New Oakleigh site."

Cr Pahlke said it would now make it easier to get road works and road widening done through the town.

"It also means that the environs of the centre of town become safer. There are a whole range of flow-on effects," he said.

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