Burst levee at Middlemount sets mine work back weeks

PRODUCTION at the Middlemount Mine will be interrupted for at least three weeks after a levee bank burst on the weekend.

In an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday, joint owners Yancoal and Peabody Energy said 420mm of rain from ex-cyclone Oswald deluged the open-cut mine site from last Friday.

Yancoal's Yarrabee mine, near Blackwater, recorded 360mm.

Production was suspended over the weekend.

"One of the levee banks surrounding the Middlemount Mine was breached and water flowed into the open cut," the ASX was told.

"The mine operators and management are currently responding by installing pumping equipment to remove water from the mine.

"Production from the mine is likely to be impacted for at least three weeks, however the timing on the commencement of coal mining remains uncertain.

"Middlemount will seek to continue to undertake certain works in areas which are unaffected by the flooding."

The pumping of billions of litres of mine water into surging rivers has been dismissed as a "drop in the ocean" by the State Government.

Final figures remain unclear.

Minister for Environment Andrew Powell hit back at sharp accusations from environmental groups, saying the 5.71 billion litres - or 5710 megalitres - of discharged mine water made up just 0.36% of the water rushing through Rockhampton and about the same at Yatton in the Isaac River.

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