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Key Australian coking coal ports shut due to Cyclone Iris

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Staff Writer | April 3, 2018
Key coking coal export ports along Australia's Queensland coast suspended operations Tuesday as the state braced for Tropical Cyclone Iris.
Hay Point
Weather   North Queensland
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation said the ports of Hay Point and Abbot Point were suspended Tuesday under the direction of the Regional Harbour Master until further notice.

The two ports are home to the Dalrymple Bay, Hay Point and Abbot Point coal terminals, all key coking coal export terminals.

The other two coal exporting ports in Queensland are Gladstone and Brisbane, with Gladstone also a key export terminal for coking coal.

A spokesman for Queensland's Department of Transport and Main Roads said operations were currently continuing as normal at Gladstone, although the port was on high alert.

Brisbane is much further south and unlikely to be impacted.

"Tropical Cyclone Iris is expected to continue moving slowly to the southeast, parallel to the Queensland coast, for the next two days while slowly intensifying," Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said in a 10 am update Tuesday.

"On Thursday the cyclone should slow down and begin to weaken. It may reverse direction and adopt a track to the northwest overnight Thursday or Friday. The cyclone is not expected to cross the Queensland coast in the short to medium term, but may approach the coast close enough to produce significant impacts," it added.

As a result of the port closures, metallurgical coal miner sources said rail lines leading to the ports have suspended operations.

Aurizon Rail Network, which operates key coal rail lines in Queensland, said in a statement: "Aurizon Operations is working with all three coal terminals to safely recommence services as soon as possible. Recommencement of berthing, outloading and inloading will occur when the weather improves."

Sources at metallurgical coal mines in Queensland said there was no damage to infrastructure heard to date.