BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie says despite a retraction in jobs the coal industry is getting its mojo back.

The coal industry is getting its “mojo” back despite job losses, BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie says.

Mr Mackenzie on Tuesday addressed a function in Canberra to launch a $28.8 million venture with CSIRO to educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in science and technology.

The company recently announced it was cutting 700 workers across its Queensland metallurgical coal business as it struggles with low prices and a high Australian dollar.

Mr Mackenzie said that despite the “little bit of a retraction” in central Queensland the company was opening a new mine in the coming week.

“So it is not all bad news,” he said.

“There is a lot of work we are doing as a company to restore the competitiveness of the Australian coal industry.

“There are quite a few indications that steadily it is getting some mojo back.”

The new mine to which Mr Mackenzie was referring is the Caval Ridge hard coking coal mine near Moranbah in central Queensland.

The $4.2 billion mine, which will produce its first coal this year, is jointly owned by BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi.