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Rail freight operator Aurizon says the temporary closure of the coal haul lines in Queensland due to flooding from cyclone Debbie will hurt volumes shifted and annual earnings.
Aurizon was forced to again shut its Blackwater coal train corridor in central Queensland on Saturday, one day after reopening, as Rockhampton and surrounding areas experience further flooding caused by cyclone Debbie.
Three other lines serving coal mines - Newlands, Goonyella and Moura - which were also closed to traffic last week because of flooding, remain closed and are not expected to re-open for some weeks.
Aurizon said the closures would have "a negative impact" on 2016/17 volumes and earnings.
"However, it is too early to assess whether there will be a change to Aurizon's FY2017 volume and EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) guidance," Aurizon said in a statement.
"As soon as the company has more clarity on the length of system closures and the options available to mitigate the loss of volumes, a further update will be provided."
The Blackwater rail corridor, which links coal mines in central Queensland to the Port of Gladstone and the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal, was closed to all traffic on March 29 due to localised flooding but re-opened on March 31.
Aurizon said on Monday that the Blackwater system, except for the North Coast line, was closed again on April 1 but may reopen in full by the end of this week as flood levels recede.
The four coal train systems are part of Aurizon's central Queensland coal network.
The Blackwater system is the longest of the four coal rail systems.
Aurizon expects that the Newlands system, which connects into the Abbot Point Coal Terminal, will reopen in the next two to three weeks.
A significant number of sites have minor damage but there are no reports of major damage.
The Goonyella system, which runs into the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal and the Hay Point Coal Terminal, will take about five weeks to recover.
Aurizon said some significant landslips had occurred on the rail corridor, and it is examining alternative routing for affected customers.
The Moura system, which runs into the Port of Gladstone, is expected to re-open in two weeks., with initial reports indicating some damage to rail infrastructure.
Shares in Aurizon were 0.5 cents lower at $5.245 at 11.34 AEDT.
This article first appeared on www.news.com.au
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