A flooded rail track that has significantly impacted mineral shipments from major miners such as Glencore could be repaired ahead of schedule, according to railway operator Queensland Rail.
On February 7, a train comprised of one locomotive and 80 wagons, containing copper, zinc and lead, was found inundated by flood waters caused by heavy rainfall.
Analysts expect the 1000 kilometre rail line, used by miners including South32 and MMG, to be out of action for at least a month.
“It is too early for us to be providing more definitive advice regarding repair timeframes for the Mount Isa line, given flood waters surrounding the site and on roads connecting to the site are yet to recede,” Queensland Rail chief executive Nick Easy said.
“We know how important the Mount Isa line is to the local economy and for the export market. There is certainly a lot of work to do, but at this stage we anticipate rectification of the line ahead of the six to 12 months being reported.”
Glencore, which has donated $1 million toward the flood recovery efforts, is working with Queensland Rail to identify and manage the impacts from the spill of minerals into local flood waters.
South32, which has a large workforce based in and around Townsville, has also donated $1 million to the flood appeal. Company chief executive Graham Kerr said, “I have lived in Townsville and seeing the flood images really highlights the impact on the community and basic services.
“My thoughts are with our employees, their families, and everyone affected by this disaster.”
A spokesperson for Aurizon said the company would await further advice as Queensland Rail continued to undertake assessments of the rail infrastructure.
The line between Townsville and Brisbane has been reopened, while rail network north of Townsville and along the Mount Isa line continue to be impacted.