Vale's hot coal express

RAIL unloading operations at the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal were shut down for about 10 hours on Friday following a Carborough Downs delivery of coal that had smoke billowing out of 24 wagons.
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Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal

Blair Price

Fire crews were mobilised to take care of the safety scare but ship-loading operations were unaffected as stockpiled coal was available.

While the incident was widely reported by Friday afternoon, A DBCT spokesman told ILN who was behind the hot coal delivery.

“The future of the coal from the wagons involved in this incident will be determined by Vale, the owner of the coal,” the spokesman said.

“We were of the belief that the temperature of the coal contained in a small number of wagons presented a risk to our people and the terminal infrastructure, and so the train was moved down the line.

“We had unloaded some of this train prior to the problem been identified.

“Queensland Rail and Vale will work through a review process to identify the cause of the hot coal delivered to DBCT.”

ILN has not received comment on the incident from Vale, but understands the shipment of coal came from Vale’s Carborough Downs longwall mine in Queensland.

The mine is working to overcome a series of misfortunes since its new longwall first started cutting coal in September 2009.

The mining area is known to host geotechnical challenges and Carborough Downs had to make two longwall moves on its first block.

Production is well short of the 4 million tonnes per annum target with 850,000t of metallurgical coal produced in the first nine months of 2010.

Last month, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union district president Stephen Smyth told ILN the mine was experiencing a high turnover of important staff.

They have people leaving,” he said.

“Just a series of people since the mine has been going, but over the last few months they have had a new manager come in, a new senior site executive, a new training officer, mainly the core positions at a minesite are the positions that people are leaving.”

About two weeks ago three workers received minor injuries during a training exercise at the mine, with one of them knocked unconscious.

“A rapid bolting rig mounted on a longwall armoured face conveyor fell over because the retaining plate had not been installed,” the Queensland mines inspectorate said of the incident.