Rail closure causes headaches for Whitehaven

Whitehaven Coal might seek temporary approval to truck coal from its Narrabri underground mine, after a train derailment near Boggrabri forced the closure of its rail line.

According to the Financial Review Whitehaven has been advised that while cleanup work has begun the track damage is unlikely to be fixed within the next 12 to 15 days.

The accident occurred last week when a fully laden coal train derailed from a bridge on its way to Newcastle.

While no-one was injured in the accident five wagons plunged off the bridge, and trackwork was badly damaged.

According to the Financial Review Whitehaven does not have enough storage space to keep extra coal on site at Narrabri, and it does not have approval to move coal by road to its handling plant at Gunnedah.

Whitehaven managing director Tony Haggarty said one option was to seek temporary trucking approval, and schedule, stockpile and maintenance changes had also been made to minimise the impact of the rail closure.

Narrabri is currently in the process of ramping up production, and Haggarty said development rates would need to be improved to ensure continuous production.

Image: Flickr/ Kate Ausburn

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