Cyclone Oswald swamped the Blackwater rail line connecting the Queensland mine with Port Gladstone. Xstrata Plc, the world’s No. 1 thermal coal producer, declared force majeure on January 29 over system damage; its operations were reopened February 6.
According to Bloomberg News, Rio spokesman Matthew Klar said the clause, invoked by companies when missing shipments from circumstances beyond their control, had been lifted last month; none of Rio’s other Queensland coal mines have been affected by the Blackwater closure.
Operated by Aurizon Holdings Ltd., Australia’s largest rail-freight company, the Blackwater rail network, delivers the second-biggest coal shipments in Queensland province, serving mines operated by Rio, Xstrata and BHP Billiton, among others. Kestrel produced about 2.5 million metric tons (mt) of coking coal and 350,000 mt of thermal coal in 2012.