It could take 5 weeks before mines are fully operational

6th April 2017 6:24 AM
Minister Anthony Lynham flies over the region, inspecting rail damage Minister Anthony Lynham flies over the region, inspecting rail damage Contributed

THERE are 12 mines still affected by flooding from TC Debbie, but that's not the biggest problem for mine companies.

The tropical cyclone caused extensive inundation to some of the Bowen Basin's biggest mines, but it the damage to the rail line that could hamper recovery of the industry.

Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham has been in central Queensland inspecting rail lines. "There has been extensive damage. There has been undermining of the rain line where the water has got through," Dr Lynham said.

The first line that is expected to open is the Blackwater line. Dr Lynham said coal trains could be diverted to the Gladstone port.

"We are also trying to get Hay Point up and running as soon as possible," he said.

Dr Lynham said his role was to help to get things moving again as soon as possible. "They have asked me to expedite the approvals because the access roads have also been washed away," he said.

He said Queensland Rail staff and heavy equipment from mines were being utilised to help Aurizon get its coal network operational again.

It's expected to take up to five weeks to repair the rail line damage from TC Debbie.

A coal ship loaded the first shipment of coal from Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Wednesday. It was coal from the stockpile already at the terminal. MV Jin Hang was the first ship to dock at the Port of Hay Point since the cyclone.