Plans to re-open QLD coal rail line delayed

Coal haulage along the flood-affected Moura line in Queensland is not expected to resume until at least the end of this month.

Coal haulage along the flood-affected Moura line in Queensland is not expected to resume until at least the end of this month.

Flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Oswald caused extensive damage to both the Blackwater and Moura lines railway lines servicing the coal industry.

Aurizon – formally QR National – had expected both lines to be reopened by the end of this week.

However, a statement from the company confirmed that while the Blackwater line should be re-opened as scheduled, the Moura line would not be open for another three weeks.

"On the Moura system we have experienced track damage in a variety of locations, with approximately 3km of full earthworks formation washout between Stirrat-Clarke and Earlsfield. Recovery will require the full replacement of all track and earthworks in these locations," network vice-president Mike Carter said

"Given the extent of the damage in these areas we are expecting to open the Moura system progressively west from Boundary Hill from February 18, with the last section impacting mines at Baralaba and Moura not to open until February 25."

Coal miners unable to meet contracts due to the flooding include, Yancoal, Xstrata and Rio Tinto who all declared ‘"force majeure" to avoid liability.

Carter said once track repairs were complete, companies would have the opportunity to recover lost rail volumes.

"The majority of mines have not been as severely impacted as 2011 and have been able to continue operations and stockpile tonnes," he said.

According to The Australian Anglo American was forced to stop mining in some areas, and a burst levee at Yancoal's Middlemount mine flooded the pit and caused at least three weeks of cut production.

Wesfarmers also cut its forecast for coking coal sales, and output at Evolution Mining's Mt Rawdon gold operation was also disrupted.

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