The coal industry in Queensland has confirmed the extensive damage caused by widespread flooding last year.
What was set to be a record year for coal exports from the state ended in a performance only slightly above that achieved during the global financial crisis, according a the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) analysis.
QRC chief executive Michael Roche explained that based on first quarter totals, Queensland was on track to export more than 200 million tonnes of coal in 2010/11.
“However, as a result of the record rainfall from September that extended into widespread flooding of coal region, QLD’s annual exports fell some 40 million tonnes short of that projection,” Roche said.
“The 163 million tonne total confirmed by port data is 21 million tonnes down on the previous year and just four million above what we were able to export during the global financial crisis.”
For June 2011, exports were 14.7 million tonnes, the highest in six months but still well below that of the previous year.
“Unfortunately, this confirms our worst case scenario in that the industry is still working at around 80 percent capacity, which is not surprising when you consider it is carrying a Sydney Harbour’s worth of water into the next wet season,” he said.
Coal miners are now investing in preparations for the next wet season by building additional on-site water storage facilities, pumps, pipes, and water treatment plants.
“Mines need to be in a position to manage another wet season as well as address the legacy issue of some 500 gigalitres of water stifling coal production six months after the floods.”