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Australia's Aurizon declares force majeure on 3 met coal systems in Queensland post cyclone

Singapore — Australia's largest rail freight provider Aurizon has declared force majeure on three of its four metallurgical coal systems in the Central Queensland Coal Network, a spokesperson confirmed Wednesday in response to a query from S&P Global Platts.

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These are the Goonyella system, the Newlands system and the Moura system.

"Aurizon is working closely today with supply chain partners (mines, ports and rail operators) on any potential flood threat to the Blackwater system. We will continue to monitor network availability as the weather event progresses southwest," she added.

The Goonyella system services the key Bowen Basin coal region, connecting to export terminals at Hay Point, Dalrymple Bay and Abbot Point. The met coal mines it services include North Goonyella, Riverside, Goonyella, Moranbah North, Isaac Plains, Carborough Downs, Caval Ridge, Moranbah Millennium, Poitrel Millennium, Saraji, German Creek, Foxleigh, Oaky Creek, Gregory, Moorvale, Coppabella, Burton, Hail Creek, South Walker Creek.

Moura system services Dawson, a mixed coal mine.

Newlands system services Newlands, Sonoma, Drake and Collinsville mines.

Late Tuesday, BHP announced the suspension of operations at five of its Queensland-based coking coal mines: Goonyella Riverside, Peak Downs, Daunia which is under BHP Mitsubishi Alliance, South Walker Creek and Poitrel under BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal, a BHP spokesperson said in an email response to Platts. This is due to Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Met coal operations are still continuing, though at "reduced levels" at the miners' other assets at Broadmeadow, Caval Ridge, Saraji, the spokesman said. "Blackwater mine near Emerald is not currently within the cyclone warning zone and is operating at normal capacity," the BHP spokesperson said.

Earlier Tuesday, Yancoal declared force majeure on its Middlemount mine, as a result of the cyclone conditions affecting Queensland state.

Other miners have also told Platts that they were considering the possibility of declaring force majeure, with updates yet to be announced.

--Elizabeth Low,

--Edited by Irene Tang,