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Queensland Coal Rail Line Closure Extends to Eleven Days



By Jo Clarke

February 4, 2023 - Australian haulage firm Aurizon has pushed back the restart of coal deliveries through the Blackwater line of the Central Queensland Coal Network (CQCN) to the 102mn t/yr port of Gladstone by four days.

Aurizon now expects to restart coal railing on the line on 9 February, rather than the earlier estimate of 5 February, leaving coal mines on the Blackwater system unable to deliver coal to Gladstone for up to 11 days. A collision between a freight train and a coal train operated by Aurizon occurred at 7:15pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (08:15 GMT) on 29 January bringing down overhead power lines.

The smaller Moura rail line is still operating and delivering coal to Gladstone. Moura delivered 12.9mn t of coal to Gladstone in 2021, while Blackwater delivered 50.5mn t.

The ship queue outside Gladstone fell to 23 on 2 February from 27 on 31 January but was up from an average queue of 22 on 30 January.

Argus last assessed high-grade 6,000 kcal/kg NAR thermal coal at $319.23/t fob Newcastle on 27 January, down from $410.17/t on 9 December last year and from a peak of $444.59/t fob on 9 September. Argus assessed the premium hard low-volatile metallurgical coal price at $347.85/t fob Australia on 1 February, up from $253.30/t on 9 December and above the previous peak of $320.90/t on 7 November.