* Road access, production, rail transport disrupted
* Joins long list of producers, transporters facing problems
(Adds details on extent of force majeures)
By Rebekah Kebede
PERTH, Dec 30 Global miner Anglo American
has declared force majeure on its coal mines in
Australia's Queensland state due to prolonged heavy rains,
joining a long list of coal firms hit by weather-related
"Adverse impacts due to flooding vary across our
operations and include disruption to road access, production
and rail transportation," the company said on Thursday.
"The full impact is not clear as rain continues to fall,
with further rain forecast for the region."
Torrential rains in Queensland state have plagued
Australia's $51 billion a year coal industry for weeks, with
coal production and coal export infrastructure heavily
impacted by rains and flooding.
Coal mines with an annual production capacity of at least
80 million tonnes -- about 30 percent of Australia's estimated
259 million tonnes of coal exports in 2009 -- are under force
Companies typically declare force majeure when they cannot
honour legal contracts due to unforeseen acts beyond their
Anglo American is the latest to report difficulties after
global miner Rio Tinto , port operators
Dalrymple Bay Coal terminal and Gladstone Ports, and rail firm
QR National all said on Wednesday that
weather-related problems are forcing them to slow or halt
Australia is the world's biggest exporter of coking coal
used for steel-making and accounts for about two-thirds of
global trade. The nation also accounts for about 20 percent of
thermal coal exports worldwide, making it the second-biggest
exporter of the coal used for power generation after Indonesia.
Queensland produces mostly coking coal which is exported
to be used in steel-making, but some mines also produce
thermal coal. Queensland's ports currently have an annual coal
export capacity of 225 million tonnes.
The country's unusually wet spring and early summer have
already pushed both coking coal and thermal prices sharply
higher and tight markets are keeping a close eye on further
Earlier this month, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural
and Resource Economics and Sciences forecast that Australia's
metallurgical coal exports will climb 2 percent for 2010/11
despite the rains, but cut its production forecast for coking
coal by 7.3 million tonnes. [ID:nSDYDNE6NP]
Anglo American is the second-largest exporter of
metallurgical coal in Australia and owns two thermal coal
Its mines affected are Callide, Dawson, Foxleigh, German
Creek and Moranbah North, the company said in a statement.
(Editing by Balazs Koranyi and Ramthan Hussain)