SYDNEY Feb 1 Rio Tinto said on
Friday a declaration of force majeure imposed at its Kestrel
coal mine in Australia two days ago remained in effect due to
damage to a main rail haul line caused by flooding.
Aurizon, the rail operator for the Backwater rail
line used by Rio Tinto to haul coal to the port of Gladstone,
said on Tuesday the track could be offline for seven to 10 days.
A Rio Tinto spokesman said all Rio Tinto coal mines were
operating and that the issue was with the transport of coal.
Force majeure is a legal clause relieving companies of
immediate supply obligations to honor sales contracts due to
circumstances beyond their control.
Heavy tropical rains over the last week that inundated
Australia's eastern coalfields, cut rail haulage lines and shut
mines and ports across two states.
More than half the world's metallurgical coal exports come
from Australia. It also operates the world's biggest thermal
coal export terminal near the city of Newcastle.
The Kestrel mine exports around four million tonnes of
coking and thermal coal a year.