The company has invested about $1.4bn on the Daunia mine, which has created 450 direct jobs in Queensland, and is likely to produce 4.5 million tonnes per annum.

BHP Billiton coal president Dean Dalla Valle said the company has made significant capital investments to expand operations in Queensland, through the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).

"In a strong partnership with Mitsubishi, we are the State’s largest coal miner, operating seven BMA metallurgical coal mines in central Queensland, along with the Hay Point Coal Terminal near Mackay," Valle added.

"Construction of the Daunia mine started in 2011 and was completed in July this year, under budget and producing coal four months ahead of schedule."

The company also owns Cannington mine, an underground silver lead zinc mine, in north-west Queensland.

Valle added, "In addition to the US$1.4 billion invested to construct the 4.5 million tonnes per annum Daunia mine, BMA has committed US$7.7 billion for major projects in Queensland over the past three years.

This includes the new Caval Ridge mine and the expansion of the Hay Point Coal Terminal currently underway, as well as the Broadmeadow mine extension completed this year,"