Coal exports from Australia’s Port of Newcastle were temporary idled this week. Flooding in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales affected rail deliveries to the port and heavy rains were slowing ship movements. It’s the worst flooding in half a century, according to Reuters, with thousands of people being forced to evacuate their homes.
The Hunter Valley Network, which serves coal operations mines run by BHP, Glencore, New Hope, Whitehaven, and Yancoal Australia, halted rail service due to storm-related damage. However, on Wednesday, Australian Rail Track Corp (ARTC) said it partially reopened the Hunter Valley coal rail lines to Newcastle, the world’s biggest coal export port, after nearly a week of heavy rain stopped.
The Port of Newcastle said on Wednesday it was continuing to operate. The Port of Newcastle shipped 158 million metric tons of coal last year.
On March 23, Glencore, with coal mines in New South Wales and Queensland, said it had taken “precautionary measures, including the decision to operate at reduced capacity at some sites.”
“We continue to monitor the current weather events across New South Wales and have robust infrastructure installed at each of our sites to minimize impacts,” Glencore said.
Coal producer Yancoal Australia Ltd. also suspended production at two open-cut mines in the Hunter Valley region, the Mount Thorley Warkworth as well as the Stratford and Duralie mines.
“There have also been interruptions to rail transportation and port operations,” Yancoal said. “Given the rain event is anticipated to continue over the coming days, it is too early to provide an accurate indication of the extent of these production interruptions.”