BHP-Mitsubishi, Prime Infrastructure Shut Berths at 2 Hay Point Terminals

BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance and Prime Infrastructure Group shut berths at two terminals at Australia’s Hay Point port, the world’s biggest export harbor for coal, to carry out planned maintenance.

Prime shut Berth 2 at Hay Point port’s Dalrymple Bay in Queensland on July 6 and the closure will last until July 28, Inchcape Shipping Services Pty said on its website. The BHP- Mitsubishi Alliance’s Hay Point terminal berth shutdown started yesterday and will last until Aug. 10, BHP Billiton Ltd. spokeswoman Fiona Martin said in an e-mailed statement.

Hay Point port has two terminals and the capacity to export 129 million metric tons of coal a year. QR National will shut down the Goonyella rail system servicing the harbor from July 14 to July 18 for scheduled maintenance, it said today. The network is the busiest in Queensland and connects 22 mines operated by producers including Xstrata Plc, Rio Tinto Group and Peabody Energy Corp.

The closure of one of four berths at Dalrymple Bay is unlikely to have a “material impediment” on exports, General Manager of operations Greg Smith said in an e-mailed response to questions. The terminal has a capacity of 85 million tons and about 80 percent of the coal shipped is used for steelmaking.

Hay Point terminal has two berths and a capacity to export 44 million tons of steelmaking coal a year. The BHP Billiton- Mitsubishi Alliance is conducting work on a fender, a cushioning device that absorbs impact. The alliance, known as BMA, is a joint venture between BHP and Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Corp.

Rail Maintenance

Any impact from the berth closure at Hay Point terminal will be reflected in BHP’s next production report, Melbourne- based Martin said in an e-mailed response to questions. BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter report on July 21, according to its website.

Maintenance on the Goonyella rail network has been planned for a year and agreed by all users of the system, QR National said in an e-mailed statement. QR is Australia’s largest coal transporter and owned by the Queensland government.

QR National transported a record 186 million metric tons of coal on its Queensland railroads in the year ended June 30, the Brisbane-based company said yesterday. Hay Point port is about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) north of Brisbane.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.net

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