North Queensland coal export terminals close as cyclone approaches

Glencore and BHP have suspended shipments at their ports as Cyclone Dylan bears down on the North Queensland coastline.

The tropical low is about 250km northeast of Townsville and is already recording winds of 120km/h.

The storm is expected to form into a category one cyclone this afternoon, before it makes landfall somewhere between Lucinda and Proserpine in the early hours of Friday morning.

Glencore's Abbot Point terminal, BHP Billiton's Hay Point terminal and the Dalrymple Bay terminal have all suspended shipping as a result of the cyclone, Platts reported.

Around 20 ships that were waiting to load coal exports at the Dalrymple Bay terminal moved further out to sea this week because of rough seas.

A total of 31 ships were not able to load cargoes at the three affected Queensland coal terminals, representing about 4.5 million Mt of coal exports.

A cyclone warning remains current for coastal and island communities from Cardwell to St Lawrence.

The system was tracking towards the coast at 12km/h on this morning.

Heavy rain and flash flooding is expected near the North Tropical Coast and Tablelands, Herbert and Lower Burdekin and the Central Coast and Whitsundays districts on Thursday.

Premier Campbell Newman urged Queenslanders to be prepared.

"Just be ready," he said.

"I don't think anybody wants to go through the trauma and pain of what we've seen in the last few years."

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.