PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner BHP Billiton on Wednesday declared a force majeure at its Hay Point coal terminal, in Queensland, following damages caused by cyclone Ului.
A BHP Billiton spokesperson told Mining Weekly Online that the terminal sustained some offshore damage to walkways, cabling and platforms.
An early assessment suggested that it would take three to six weeks for both berths to return to full operation, the mining company reported.
BHP Billiton said it had notified affected customers of a force majeure event.
“We will continue to work with our customers and inform them when operations will resume at the terminal,” the spokesperson said.
“We are monitoring conditions at mine sites and are gradually restarting operations in line with safety procedures.”
Operations at the Hay Point coal terminal were suspended on March 11, owing to poor weather conditions.
Railings to the terminal ceased on March 18. However, Queensland Rail reported on Wednesday that the Goonyella coal rail system, which services the ports at Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point, would resume operations later in the day.
The Hay Point terminal handles coal from various mines managed by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance in the Bowen basin. Late last week, some mines also suspended operations to ensure safety.
BHP Billiton is planning to expand the capacity of the Hay Point terminal. In January, it had approved $267-million to accelerate the development of the Caval Ridge and Hay Point coal terminal stage 3 expansion (HPX3) projects.
The HPX3 project is expected to increase the annual capacity of the Hay Point terminal from 44-million tons a year to 55-million tons a year.