Tens of millions lost to CQ floods

THE damage bill from floods and wet weather in central Queensland’s Bowen Basin appears certain to cost the export coal industry and the State’s economy tens of millions of dollars, according to Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche.

“While the full extent of physical flood damage and lost production will take time to assess, the industry’s only focus now is the well-being of its employees and their families,” he said.

“Reports from the Emerald region suggest that the pattern and the severity of flooding are unique and at this stage, our immediate concern is for hundreds of employees and their families who live in Emerald and may be faced with evacuating their homes.”

As for the industry, it is evident that Ensham Resources’ operations alongside the nearby Nogoa River have been seriously affected, including the inundation of a massive dragline that could not be moved to higher ground in time.

“Elsewhere in the Bowen Basin, coal production has been either suspended or reduced because of safety concerns or staff shortages caused by difficulties in moving around the region.

“Disruptions extend to the north of the Bowen Basin, where Xstrata Coal is reporting lost production from its Newlands and Collinsville operations because of localised flooding and persistent rain.

“While there have been some weather-induced rail interruptions, a number of mines whose production has been halted or severely curtailed are continuing to rail coal from mine site stockpiles,” Roche said.

Queensland’s export coal industry is dominated by production from Bowen Basin mines located along a strip from Moura in the south to Collinsville in the north.

The industry is worth more than $18 billion a year to the Queensland economy and directly employs almost 23,000 people.

Last financial year, the industry paid $1.15 billion in royalties to the Queensland Government.

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