Against a quarterly ‘business as usual’ baseline of 51 million metric tons (mt) of coal production (export and domestic) in Queensland, QRC analysis reveals production in the March 2011 quarter is expected to fall by at least 25% and up to 50% under a ‘high impact’ scenario. Roche said while prevailing high prices for coal would provide incentive for Queensland miners to move back into production quickly, the price benefits could flow straight to global export competitors if a concerted effort was not directed at de-watering Queensland mines and restoring transport links.

In related news, the Port of Gladstone terminal resumed exports operations during mid-January. According to The Associated Press, Gladstone Ports Corp., which runs the fourth largest coal export terminal in the world, said one of the two rail lines servicing the facility 525 m north of Brisbane had been reopened. Work is continuing to restore the second rail line and Queensland Rail was scheduled to reopen at the end of January. Gladstone normally exports 1.3 million metric tons of coal a week from Queensland’s mines.