QLD coal mines undamaged by Cyclone Yasi

Cyclone Yasi does not appear to have damaged coal miners operating in the Bowen Bason.

Cyclone Yasi does not appear to have damaged coal miners operating in the Bowen Bason.

Rail operator QR National said it is still assessing Yasi’s effect on its network, and several lines are still closed.

Following its closure on Wednesday night ahead of the cyclone, Xstrata Coal has resumed mining at its Newlands mine in the Bowen Basin.

Xstrata said the mine suffered only minimally from the first Category Five cyclone in a century and there is no damage to infrastructure or equipment.

“Newlands has resumed production today and we are preparing to resume at Collinsville, once power in the area returns,” company spokesman James Rickards said.

“The majority of our employees are returning to work safely, which is the key priority given the significance of the storm.”

Following the disastrous floods in January, Xstrata’s Newlands, Collinsville and Rolleston coal mines were affected by the rail disruptions and forced to declare force majeure on some contracts.

Xstrata’s Mt Isa operation spent much of yesterday preparing for Yasi to hit its copper mine around 1am this morning.

A statement from the company said the company is focusing on recommencing its Mount Isa Mines operations following the cyclone, and chief operating officer Steve de Kruijff said the most important news is that there have been no reports of injuries to any of their staff.

 “We would like to thank all of our workforce for their cooperation as we prepared for the onset of Cyclone Yasi,” de Kruijff.

“We appear to have no major structural damage at our Mount Isa Mines or Ernest Henry Mine
operations at Cloncurry.

“From an environmental perspective we have recorded no breaches at these sites.

“A preliminary investigation of our port facilities has not identified any major structural damage,

He said the company is not yet finished assessing the damage caused by the weather.

“However a comprehensive site audit of our Townsville Port and Refinery operations is yet to be completed as part of the recovery planning process.

“At this stage, we have not received an update with regards to road and rail lines from Mount Isa to Townsville but expect to get a clearer understanding of these facilities throughout the day.

“As we begin to get our North Queensland operations back online throughout the day we will continue to work with all relevant authorities to ensure our operations do not impede everyone’s
goal of getting North Queensland back on its feet.

“We remain focused on getting our operations back online as soon as possible to also assist the economic recovery of North Queensland.”

On Thursday QR National (QRN) said it had begun assessing its rail network and other assets in areas affected by Yasi.

“The inspections are commencing as soon as authorities deem it safe to return to particular areas in north Queensland,” a statement from the company said.

Services on the Newlands and Goonyella coal rail networks, the North Coast line between Rockhampton and Cairns and the North West Line between Townsville and Mount Isa were suspended.

QRN said the Blackwater and Moura coal rail networks were not affected and they continued to operate.
Shares in coal producers with operations in central Queensland were back up by 3pm AEDT.

BHP Billiton was up 60 cents to $46.30 and Rio Tinto rose 64 cents at $86.46.

Macarthur Coal saw a 1.66 per cent rise, increasing by 21 cents to $12.85, Cockatoo Coal increased 4.81 per cent to 54.5 cents.

Wesfarmers Ltd was down 25 cents at $33.48.

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