Australian coal mining, rail links see some impact from Queensland rains
Singapore (Platts)--29Jan2013/539 am EST/1039 GMT
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald continues to have some impact on coking coal
mining, railway and port operations in Queensland, various Australian market
sources said Tuesday.
Miner Yancoal said Tuesday it had suspended operations at its
Middlemount and Yarrabee metallurgical coal mines, and was installing pumping
equipment to remove water from the mines.
A spokeswoman for BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance said that it was
"still assessing the impact to our operations across the Bowen Basin. All
sites are operating and we are working to return to normal operations."
Impact on BMA's current production will only be reported in the miner's
quarterly production report, she added.
Meanwhile, most export terminals have resumed operations.
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Haypoint and Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal are currently running as
normal, officials from both companies said, though the rain appeared to have
had a greater impact on other export terminals such as at the Port of
Gladstone and the Port Kembla Coal Terminal in New South Wales.
Port Kembla is currently closed "due to high rain and high swell," a port
official said. It is expected to reopen Wednesday, he added.
Gladstone port is currently "fully operational during daylight hours
only," a port official said on Monday. Daylight hours start at approximately
5:30 am local time (1930 GMT, previous day). The port was shut on January 24
due to heavy rain and reopened on January 27, he added.
Communication systems were currently "all back up and running," the
official said. Gladstone port had "lost all telephone communications at
approximately 1700 hours on January 27 but it has been fully restored [as of]
late Monday afternoon," he added.
Coal-loading facilities are still to return to normal, however. the
official said. "We are still in the process of restoring the equipments," he
BLACKWATER AND MOURA LINES CLOSED
Meanwhile, the Moura and Blackwater rail systems which carry coal to
Gladstone port remained closed Tuesday "due to the effects of the weather
system," rail operator Aurizon's spokesperson said in an email.
The Blackwater system links coking coal mines such as the Blackwater
mine in Bowen basin to the export terminals at Gladstone.
"Aurizon cannot fully assess some locations because the rail line is
still under water. However, the current expectation is that the Moura and
Blackwater systems will be reopened within 7-10 days," Aurizon said.
The Goonyella and Newlands systems further north are "no longer affected
by floods," the company said. This means that Dalrymple Bay and Haypoint
terminals could see normal coal arrivals. The Goonyella system is located in
Central Queensland and serves prized premium low-vol coking coal mines in the
The weather pattern had Tuesday moved to the south of New South Wales,
and was expected to drift out to sea Wednesday, according to the Bureau of
With the current rain direction, another miner said that the next mines
to be affected might possibly be those located in the Hunter Valley region of
New South Wales. Semi-soft coking coals in this region are especially in
demand in Japan.
--Julien Hall, email@example.com
--Edwin Yeo, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by E Shailaja Nair, email@example.com