Hunter Valley storm forces coal mines to close

Glencore’s open-cut coal mines in the Hunter Valley are slowly returning to production after being forced to shut due to severe storms earlier this week.

More than 300-400mm of rain fell in the Hunter Valley over Monday and Tuesday, forcing the operations to close.

Peabody Energy also closed its Wambo mine, while Anglo American's Drayton operations were disrupted sporadically from Monday night with the pit closed fully at 8pm Tuesday night. However by 9.30am Wednesday morning the pit was reopened.

The Illawarra region was also battered by the storm, however BHP Billiton’s underground operations in the area have not been affected and are operating normally. 

Rio Tinto's Hunter operations are not affected.

The entire coal chain in the Hunter was affected due to flooding on the train line preventing coal transportation to Port Newcastle.

However the Australian Rail Track Corporation said haulage should resume this afternoon if flooding along the line recedes.

Senior Meteorologist at the Australian Bureau of Meterology, Sean Carson, said this week’s storms were the most severe since 2007.

“This storm is certainly the biggest one we’ve seen in Newcastle on the coast there now since 2007,” Carson said.

“Many people remember the 2007 east coast low in Pasha Bulker was washed up on the beaches there in Nobbys Head. This is probably the biggest storm we’ve seen in 80 years.”

The bureau says the slow-moving pressure system responsible for the storm is expected to weaken further today, lending to improved conditions.

Image: abc.net.au

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