THE Australian Investors Association has been told that even a low impact assessment of coal mining losses following record rainfall over the past four months could be up to double those made by government estimates.
Queensland Resources Council senior executive David Rynne told the meeting that disruption to coal mining operations from flooding has left, “just 15% of mines in full production, 60% operating under restrictions and a further 25% yet to resume normal operations”.
“The QRC estimates that 85% of coal mines were partly or fully constrained by excess water,” he added.
The full impact across the state’s 57 operating mines, while still an estimate, can be gauged using the quarterly “normal” production figure of 51 million tonnes of thermal and coking coal (35% and 65% respectively). Consultation with QRC members has produced a low and high impact assessment which shows loss of production over the December 2010 and March 2011 quarters will vary between 25% (low impact) and 50% (high impact). This is up to double that of government estimates.
This translates to lost value of production of an estimated $5.263 million (low impact) to $9.456 million (high impact) over the six months from October 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. “Given the severity of flooding in the north, the recovery of the coal rail network has been impressive. By Australia Day most of the coal rail network was back in action albeit under restrictions,” Mr Rynne said.
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