BEHIND the curtain of a media blackout, both BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance and a trio of unions released identical statements confirming good news was on the horizon in their battle for a new enterprise bargaining agreement.
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and Electrical Trades Union have been battling the metal-making coal miner for more than 18 months.
On Friday evening, a joint press release stated that a "framework agreement" had been accepted, something that would "guide the finalisation" of the deal.
Trade unionist Bill Kelty and Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten worked with each side as they begrudgingly entered mediation on Monday.
A condition of the discussions was that each side would maintain media silence.
It was a stark change from the very public battle waged by both the union and BMA since the industrial spat began.
Mr Kelty met with each side together on Monday, then each side separately before discussions in Brisbane on Thursday and Friday.
The EBA will cover 3500 workers in BMA's six coal operations in the Central Queensland Bowen Basin.
BMA and the unions will now head to Emerald, Blackwater, Moranbah and Dysart next week to work through more details.
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