by John McCarthy
CYCLONE Debbie has cut a swath through BHP Billiton's coal operations, slashing about $1.6 billion from forecast annual production in Queensland.
The resources giant has a stake in nine coal mines in central Queensland in joint ventures with Mitsubishi and Mitsui. While the operations were affected by rain, the greatest impact was on Aurizon's rail line, which carries coal to the ports.
The freight carrier expects its losses to reach about $100 million.
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt admits Cyclone Debbie will hit the Budget bottom line. Courtesy: Channel 9
The growing financial toll from the disaster comes on top of the anticipated $2 billion in economic losses for Queensland, and another $1.5 billion in damages.
The Government expects to recoup up to $1 billion from the Commonwealth under National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.