18 Nov 2021

Derailment Disrupts Coal Deliveries to Australian Port

18 Nov 2021  by   

Coal exports from Australia's 102mn t/yr Gladstone port in Queensland have been disrupted by a derailment on the train line entering the port.

A train derailed at the marshalling yard at Callemondah on 16 November, closing the track for some hours while the train was removed. The train has been removed and an adjacent track been made available for trains entering and leaving Gladstone, but the full track will not be operational until 23 November.

The ship queue at Gladstone has grown to 34 from a more average of 19 on 6 October, as the Callemondah derailment compounds delivery disruptions caused by an outage on the Moura rail line earlier this month.

The Callemondah derailment will affect all deliveries to Gladstone, as it is close to port beyond where the Moura and larger Blackwater rail systems connect.

Blackwater delivered 52.3mn t of coal to Gladstone during 2020-21, down from 55.6mn t the previous year. It services UK-Australian-Japanese joint venture BHP Mitsubishi Alliance's 15mn t/yr Blackwater coking and thermal coal mine, US-Australian firm Coronado's 12mn t/yr Curragh coking and thermal coal mine, Japanese firm Idemitsu's 5mn t/yr Ensham thermal coal mine, Australian firm Jellinbah's 5mn t/yr Jellinbah PCI and thermal coal mine, Swiss trading firm Glencore's 12mn t/yr Rolleston thermal coal mine, Japanese firm Sojitz's 2.5mn t/yr Minerva thermal coal mine, Indonesian firm Adaro's 6mn t/yr Kestrel coking coal mine and Chinese-controlled Yancoal's 3mn t/yr Yarrabee coking coal mine.

The Blackwater line can also be used by mines on the Goonyella system to access Gladstone. Mines on the Blackwater and Goonyella systems have options to send coal out through the ports of Hay Point, Dalrympe Bay or Abbot Point, but long term contracts make switching exit port difficult.

Moura, which can only discharge coal at Gladstone, delivered 12.9mn t of coal in the 2020-21 fiscal year to 30 June, down from 13.8mn t the previous year. It services private-sector Australian firm Batchfire's 6.5mn t/yr Callide thermal coal mine, US insurance firm Liberty Mutual's 2.5mn t/yr Baralaba North pulverised coal injection grade mine and UK-South African firm Anglo American's 9mn t/yr Dawson metallurgical and thermal coal mine.

Hard coking coal typically accounts for around a third of Gladstone's total exports, with lower-grade coking coal and thermal coal each accounting for a third.

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