Mar 31, 2017

Miners back to business but coal rail remains cut

Miners back to business but coal rail remains cut

Mining operations are cranking up again throughout north and central Queensland following Cyclone Debbie, however the coal rail network remains cut.

BHP Billiton, which has nine operational coal mines in central Queensland, said today all of its sites except South Walker Creek west of Nebo had crews returning to work to begin dewatering and preparation for return to operations.

The company said its Hay Point Terminal was ready to receive coal from the mines, but it was awaiting feedback from Aurizon on when the rail network would be available.

“We are updating customers on the current situation and determining potential supply impacts,” a spokesman said.

Aurizon re-opened the Blackwater rail system at 2pm today to allow the recommencement of coal shipments for customers through to the Port of Gladstone, however Newlands, Goonyella and Moura coal systems remain closed.

Glencore said its Collinsville and Newlands coal mines were in the process of returning to production after suspending production mid-week.

Operations were ongoing at the remainder of its coal mines and its North Queensland copper and zinc sites, the company said.

The Pajingo gold mine, 50km south of Charters Towers, was relatively unaffected by the weather event, according to general manager- operations Kerry Payne.

“We did however shut down operations for two shifts as a precautionary measure while a percentage of our workforce left earlier in the week to attend family and properties along the coast,” he said.

Evolution Mining announced yesterday that its Mt Carlton gold mine in North Queensland had resumed operations after Cyclone Debbie passed to the south of the mine.

The company deployed a team from Townsville, led by mine rescue personnel, to assist with recovery efforts in local communities impacted by the cyclone.

“Our thoughts are with the people of Queensland who have been affected by the cyclone, which include some of our own employees and their families,” Evolution executive chairman Jake Klein said.

“We have mobilised a team to support our employees who require it, and to provide assistance to the broader community.”

Resolute Mining reported that infrastructure at its Ravenswood gold mine in north Queensland had escaped damage and said quarterly gold production would not be materially affected by the brief suspension in operations earlier this week.

Resolute has made a donation to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund to provide assistance to the recovery work required in areas affected by Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Aurizon said it had mobilised all available crews and resources over the past 24 hours to inspect and commence repairs where possible throughout its Central Queensland Coal Network (CQCN) following damage and flooding caused by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie and the extreme weather that followed.

In respect to general freight, Aurizon said it was continuing to work with infrastructure owners Queensland Rail and the Australian Rail Track Corporation for operations of freight trains services in Queensland and NSW, respectively.

It is unable to operate services on the following sections/ corridors: Rockhampton to Mackay; Rockhampton to Winton and north of Taree, NSW to Brisbane.