Mining companies are among the most generous contributor’s to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal, which has raised over $45 million as of yesterday afternoon.
Billions of dollars in Australian exports have been lost as companies in Queensland, including Macarthur Coal, Vale, BMA, Peabody Energy and Rio Tinto are forced to stop operations and declare force majeure, which allows them to miss contracted obligations due to circumstances beyond their control.
Xstrata was one of the first to donate, contributing $1 million on December 30, as well as $250 000 from Swiss company Glenmore International, which has a 35 per cent stake in Xstrata.
The company’s coal operations have been affected, and they say employees have been impacted by the devastation, with many left homeless.
“The communities close to our coal operations in central Queensland located near Emerald, Collinsville and Springsure, as well as our copper and zinc operations across Mt Isa and Townsville, represent an important part of Xstrata’s global network and it is thus fitting for Xstrata to play a role in assisting the many residents who have been forced to evacuate their homes as a result of rising floodwaters,” Xstrata chief executive Mick Davis said.
Watch the flood waters break through the retaining wall at Cockatoo Coal’s Baralaba open cut mine here:
Rio Tinto has given a million dollars worth of donations, with $700 000 to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal and $300 000 given directly to Emerald charities and organisations.
This followed its $10 000 Christmas donation to the State Emergency Service (SES).
The company declared forced majeure on all four of its Queensland coal mines on December 29.
BHP Billiton added to the $300 000 donated by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance with another million dollars and has pledged to match donations made to their Matched Giving Program dollar for dollar.
BMA is also assisting members of its workforce and their communities and their joint venture partner, Mitsubishi development has made a separate donation of half a million dollars.
“In making this million dollar donation we want to give a hand to those who have been evacuated from their homes or who have had their homes damaged in flood-affected areas of Queensland,” Rio Tinto CEO Doug Richie said.
“We note many other companies have pledged their financial support to flood victims, and hope that our donation will encourage others to dig deep and assist during this time of need.”
After the Kestral mine operation was suspended, employees began assisting the community to deal with the devastation.
“We flew in 10 000 sandbags and additional rolls of black plastic last week when Emerald ran out of supplies, and our employees worked throughout Thursday night continuing to sandbag and seal buildings, including the Avalon nursing home where 100 aged people live and could not be moved,” Krestal general manager John Coughlan said.
The Brisbane office of Macarthur Coal, which has donated $250 000 is closed, and a voicemail recording urges employees to stay safe, not make any unnecessary travel and to stay in regular contact with their supervisors and workmates.
Anglo American evacuated 328 people on December 30, providing shelter for them at its Dawson mine camp, motels and other facilities at Moura and it says they have the capacity to accommodate more evacuees.
They have donated $100 000 and said employees will be able to donate through voluntary payroll reductions.
“Anglo America is the largest employer in the region and a number of employees unable to get to work due to floodwaters have been volunteering their time to help the community,” Dawson mine acting general manager Andy McLeod said.
“Most of the people evacuated from Theodore left with the clothes they were wearing so we are providing them with shelter and basic necessities, such as food, clothes and toiletries.”
Downer EDI donated $100 000 and Chinese-owned Minerals and Metals Group (MMG) $80 000.
Both companies have mining contracts in Queensland.
“These floods have certainly been devastating for many people living in Queensland and we understand that it is going to take some time for communities to rebuild,” MMG CEO Andrew Michelmore said.
“We realise that nothing can undo the damage caused, but we hope to offer some relief during this difficult time.
Our thoughts go out to those impacted in the disaster and we hope for a speedy return to normality for the individuals, families and businesses across Queensland having to re-establish themselves.”
Junior explorers Australian Pacific Coal and Stanmore Coal have each contributed $10 000 and Clive Palmer’s Queensland Nickle $50 000.
Yesterday Palmer used his private helicopter to rescue 60 people stranded by floodwaters.
“What is important to us is that no lives have been lost. I will keep helping out in any way I possibly can," he said.