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Dalrymple Bay closes ahead of Cyclone Yasi

DALRYMPLE Bay Coal Terminal shut down operations on Sunday ahead of Cyclone Anthony passing the Queensland coast, with further destructive cyclone activity expected to bear down on the flood-damaged Bowen Basin on Thursday.

Lou Caruana
Dalrymple Bay closes ahead of Cyclone Yasi

The closure of Australia’s largest coal terminal will further disrupt coal exports from Queensland, with losses already estimated at $2.3 billion, and is expected to be kept in place until Cyclone Yasi, which is rated at category four or five, passes through later this week.

Cyclone Anthony, which hit on Sunday night and has since weakened to a low-pressure system, uprooted trees and brought down power lines but caused little structural damage in the area. The coast experienced high tides, rough seas and destructive wind gusts.

“We’ve taken the decision to keep in lockdown until the threat passes,” Dalrymple Bay spokesperson Andrew Garratt told ILN.

“No damage was caused at Dalrymple Bay by Cyclone Anthony but there was plenty of rain.

“We’re not proceeding with loading until Cyclone Yasi passes. This is forecast to be five or six times bigger than Anthony and a 1000-kilometre front. It’s going to be a significant event on the central coast plus producing a metre of rain. So the impact is beyond the wind event.”

Yasi is expected to reach the coast by Thursday.

“After Thursday morning we will be in a position to assess the situation,” Garratt said.

“At this stage we were playing things safe. We’re hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.”

Dalrymple Bay handles 85 million tonnes per year of coal, and 28 trains and about three ships a day.

The Queensland government on Friday estimated the floods had cut up to 15Mt from steelmaking coal exports from the financial year ending June 30, 2011.

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