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Queensland coal production watered down

<p>Miners in the Bowen Basin region were expecting a bill in the order of tens of millions of dollars for damage caused by flooding, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said today (Tuesday, January 22).</p> <p>Flooding was expected to peak in Emerald this morning, as the Nagoa River approached the 15.5-metre mark.</p> <p>Production in the Bowen Basin has been suspended or reduced across many mines because of safety concerns or staff shortages caused by difficulties for people to move around the region. </p> <p>Ensham Resources operations, next to the Nogoa River, had been seriously affected, including the inundation of a hugee dragline that could not be moved to higher ground in time, QRC chief executive Michael Roche said.</p> <p>&#8220Disruptions extend to the north of the Bowen Basin, where Xstrata Coal is reporting lost production from its Newlands and Collinsville operations because of localised flooding and persistent rain,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>While there had been some weather-induced rail interruptions, some mines where production had been halted or severely curtailed were continuing to rail coal from mine site stockpiles, Mr Roche said. </p> <p>All QR services were running at restricted speeds, a spokeswoman said yesterday.</p> <p>However, services to affected mines had been reduced at the request of coal customers, she said.</p> <p>Queensland’s export coal industry is dominated by production from Bowen Basin mines located along a strip from Moura in the south, to Collinsville in the north.</p> <p>The industry is worth more than $18bn a year to the Queensland economy and directly employs almost 23,000 people. </p> <p>&#8220Reports from the Emerald region suggest that the pattern and the severity of flooding are unique and at this stage, our immediate concern is for hundreds of employees and their families who live in Emerald and may be faced with evacuating their homes,&#8221 Mr Roche said.</p> <br />