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Aurizon Delays Coal Rail Opening on Flood-Damaged Tracks

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Aurizon Holdings Ltd., Australia’s biggest transporter of coal by rail, delayed the opening of two tracks that carry the fuel for producing power and steel to Gladstone port in Queensland after floods damaged the system.

The Blackwater rail network, which carries the second-largest tonnages in Queensland, is expected to reopen by the end of the week, Mike Carter, the executive vice president of the Aurizon network, said in an e-mailed statement. The line, which transports coal to Gladstone, was shut on Jan. 26 and was forecast to be closed from seven to 10 days, the company said Jan. 29.

Xstrata Plc, the world’s biggest shipper of thermal coal, Rio Tinto Group and Yancoal Australia Ltd. said they may miss shipments because of the network damage. The Moura line will start to reopen on Feb. 18, with the last section, which serves the Baralaba mine operated by Cockatoo Coal Ltd., set to open Feb. 25, Aurizon said. The track was shut on Jan. 25.

“On the Moura system, we have experienced track damage in a variety of locations, with approximately 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) of full earthworks formation washout between Stirrat-Clarke and Earlsfield,” Carter said. “Recovery will require the full replacement of all track and earthworks in these locations.”

One of two coal-ship loaders at the port of Gladstone resumed operations on Jan. 27, an e-mailed statement from harbor authorities said on Jan 29. Kylie Lee, a spokeswoman for Gladstone Ports Corp., didn’t immediately respond to a phone message and e-mail seeking comment about stockpiles at the port.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net AAL LN <Equity> COK AU <Equity> BHP AU <Equity> RIO AU <Equity> XTA LN <Equity> AZJ AU <Equity>

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