NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite provides a visible look at Tropical Cyclone Debbie from space. Image: NASA/NOAA/Suomi NPP.
BY REUBEN ADAMS
WHILE figures from the Resources and Energy Quarterly released today predicting record-high export earnings of $215 billion in 2016–17 and 2017–18 were completed before Cyclone Debbie, the Federal Government is confident the storm’s impacts will be manageable.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan said separate early assessments show that the Queensland resources sector should be able to absorb the impact of the cyclone.
“While there has been some damage to coal haulage rail lines which transport coking coal to the Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point coal terminals, the majority of mines should be able to stay open and stockpile production,” Mr Canavan said.
“At the moment the expectation is they’ll then be in a position to make up for the lost transport time over the next few months.
“This is in contrast to the impacts from Cyclone Yasi in 2011, where mine production was significantly disrupted and about 26 million tonnes of coal exports were lost.”
As of 7 April, Mr Canavan said it looked likely that an estimated 13 million tonnes of coking coal exports would be delayed, and a further 2mt to 3mt of thermal coal exports, although these numbers would potentially change as more information is known about the impacts.
The Resources and Energy Quarterly projected nation-wide export volumes well above pre-mining boom levels out to 2021-22.
The 32 per cent increase in export earnings was expected to come from price spikes in iron ore and metallurgical coal, driven by the resurgence of China’s steel sector, combined with increased LNG export volumes.