BHP: A weather event earlier this year had a major impact on the mining giant’s Queensland coal operations.
BHP: A weather event earlier this year had a major impact on the mining giant’s Queensland coal operations.

Mining giant takes hit from CQ weather, coronavirus

A SEVERE weather event has had a major impact on a mining giant’s Queensland coal operations.

BHP said planned major wash plant shutdowns and significant wet weather had cancelled out strong underlying operational performance in Queensland.

In an update to shareholders on the nine months to March 31, BHP said one of its Central Queensland mines was the worst hit by the wild weather.

“Blackwater, our largest mine, was the most severely impacted, with five site evacuations following the flooding of pits and haul roads during January and February 2020,” the company said.

“Mining operations at Blackwater are expected to be stabilised in the June 2020 quarter and to return to full capacity during the September 2020 quarter as inventory levels are rebuilt.”

In February, the Daily Mercury reported rain had blocked access to the mine.

Blackwater Mine in Central Queensland
Blackwater Mine in Central Queensland

BHP advised at the time that Blackwater Mine was inaccessible and team members should not travel to the site.

Their advice came after a major rain event in the region on February 10.

BHP reported metallurgical coal production was down three per cent to 30mt.

As at December 31 2019, net debt was US$12.8 billion.

BHP chief executive Mike Henry said only a small number of employees across its global workforce had tested positive to coronavirus, but had either recovered or were recovering.

Mr Henry said the company was in a strong position, despite ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic.

BHP chief executive Mike Henry. Picture: Aaron Francis
BHP chief executive Mike Henry. Picture: Aaron Francis

“While demand in China has strengthened in recent weeks, we expect other major economies, including the US, Europe and India, to contract sharply in the June 2020 quarter,” he said.

“The situation remains fluid, however, with our strong financial position and low-cost operations, our business is resilient, with capacity to generate solid cash flow through this period and emerge well placed as the global economy recovers.”



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