By Elizabeth Low, Edwin Yeo, Yi Le Weng and Irene Tang
April 5, 2018 - Australia's Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal has declared force majeure on coking coal loadings, after operations at several terminals, as well as rail operations, were suspended due to Tropical Cyclone Iris, five miners who received the notice said Wednesday.
A miner who received the notice late Tuesday said there was already a queue of 20 vessels at the DBCT terminal on Monday, with another 31 vessels arriving in 14 days.
"Should these vessels be unable to move out, there could be a pileup of possible 50 vessels," he said.
DBCT has earlier suspended vessel loadings on April 1 and train unloading on April 3, another miner who received the force majeure notice noted.
Sources at DBCT declined to confirm or deny the force majeure declaration.
"I think we will see most impact at the ports and rails," a third miner source said. The heavy rains may also affect coal stockpiles and raise the moisture content in coal.
There is also a possibility that the cyclone will head north, closer inland to where the mines are, he added.
Under the direction of the regional harbor master, operations at Dalrymple Bay, Hay Point and Abbot Point along the Queensland coast were suspended Tuesday as the state braced for Tropical Cyclone Iris.
Tropical Cyclone Iris is expected to continue on its current southeasterly track Wednesday, while gradually weakening, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said in an update Wednesday, The BOM currently categorizes Iris as a Category 2 cyclone.
"On Thursday, Iris should weaken below tropical cyclone intensity and slow down offshore of the central coast, before adopting a track back towards the northwest as a tropical low during Friday," the update said.
In 2017, DBCT exported a total of 64.50 million mt of coal, down 6% from 68.56 million mt in 2016.
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