Logistics, Ports & Terminals, Mining and Heavy Industries

Aurizon counts cost of Debbie destruction

Aurizon is feeling the force of struggling coal and iron ore markets. Photo: RailGallery

Portions of the Central Queensland Coal Network will be out of action for five weeks, after Cyclone Debbie ripped through the region at the end of last week.

Operator Aurizon provided an update on the impacts of the cyclone to the ASX on Monday, April 3.

Significant landslips have been indicated on the Goonyella System, which connects to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal and Hay Point Coal Terminal.

“Initial engineering assessment indicates recovery of the rail infrastructure will take approximately five weeks,” Aurizon said.

Meanwhile, aerial inspections continue on the Newlands System, which connects to the Abbot Point Coal Terminal, and has been closed since midday on Tuesday, March 28.

Aurizon expects the system to be closed for at least two weeks, with minor damage found at a number of sites, but no reports of major damage.

“Crews on the ground are also ‘running’ the corridor,” the operator explained, “and level crossing equipment will be examined and returned to safe operations.”

Two weeks is also the timeframe outlined for return for the Moura System, which takes coal to the Port of Gladstone.

The system was closed at 9am on Wednesday, March 29.

“Aerial inspections of the corridor have commenced however road and rail access to the rail corridor is limited,” Aurizon said, reporting some damage observed to rail infrastructure.

The Blackwater System, which also links to the Port of Gladstone, was closed at 9pm on Wednesday, March 29, due to localised flooding. It was re-opened on March 31, but further flooding in Rockhampton again closed the line on April 1.

“At this stage the system is expected to open again by the end of this week, subject to further assessment as flood levels recede,” Aurizon told the stock market.

The company said the cost of repairing the infrastructure, and the loss of network revenue, is expected to be recovered “as part of the established regulatory process with the Queensland Competition Authority”.

It said it would work to re-route freight for customers impacted by the various system outages.

“As soon as the company has more clarity on the length of system closures and the options available to mitigate the loss of volumes, a further update will be provided,” Aurizon concluded.

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