QLD miners bunker down for ex-Tropical Cyclone Kimi

Tropical Cyclone Kimi hovering off the North Queensland coast. Image: Bureau of Meteorology.

Queensland miners have again found themselves facing the potential of an extreme weather event as ex-Tropical Cyclone Kimi edged closer to Townsville this morning.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Kimi, which was downgraded from tropical cyclone status at 6am on Tuesday Queensland time, approached the coast just two weeks after ex-Tropical Cyclone Imogen hit North Queensland.

This was after it strengthened to category 2 on Monday night, as it hovered off Queensland’s Tropical North Coast, threatening wind gusts of up to 130 kilometres per hour and heavy rainfall between Port Douglas and Ayr.

At the time of the downgrade, the ex-tropical cyclone was 130 kilometres northeast of Townsville and ‘slow-moving’, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

“The system has recently weakened below tropical cyclone strength in response to an increasingly unfavourable environment,” BOM stated Tuesday morning.

“The surrounding conditions are expected to remain unfavourable for redevelopment of the system.”

BOM has rated the likelihood of the the system re-forming into a tropical cyclone on Wednesday and Thursday as ‘very low’.

Despite this, Townsville Airport stated on Twitter that it was closed from 10pm Monday night to 8am Tuesday, expecting impacts to morning flights.

Mines in the firing line of ex-Tropical Cyclone Kimi include Laneway Resources’ Agate Creek gold mine and Consolidated Tin Mines at Mount Garnet.

Laneway Resources only just bounced back from interruption to mining activities due to ex-Tropical Cyclone Imogen, as it started processing first ore from Agate Creek this week.

The company anticipates access restrictions caused by flooding and road closures will ‘likely see the suspension of mining until after the wet season’, until March or April.

The company was forced to suspend activities for 10 days after ex-Tropical Cyclone Imogen, as it was hit by 500 millimetres of rain in 10 days.

Laneway confirmed that its current mining program, which aims to extract 43,000 tonnes at 6.5 grams per tonne of gold, or 9000 ounces will still be completed via two high-grade parcels as planned, but the first is likely to be delayed due to ex-Tropical Cyclone Kimi.

Despite this series of weather interruptions, Laneway chairman Stephen Bizzell is confident it won’t have a material impact on the company’s plans for 2021.

“Whilst the heavy rainfall and flooding has temporarily suspended mining activities, the delays shouldn’t impact materially,” Bizzell said.

“We are pleased to have commenced the processing of the first batch of high-grade ore from the current mining campaign, with material revenue to still be received this quarter.”

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