Whitehaven Coal plans derailed

Train derailment and track damage have forced Whitehaven Coal to apply for emergency trucking

Whitehaven Coal plans derailed
White Haven Coal plans derailed

December 7, 2012

Train derailment and track damage have forced Whitehaven Coal (WHC) to
apply for emergency coal trucking.

A train derailment late last month has left WHC without transport for coal from its Narrabri underground mine to the port of Newcastle.

WHC announced today it had applied
to the
New South Wales Government to truck coal from its Narrabri underground mine to its Gunnedah coal handling and preparation plant.

According to WHC, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has advised that the track will be fixed by December 25.

But Whitehaven Managing Director Tony Haggarty says the company needs to proceed with contingency planning, including seeking approval to truck coal.

"These are exceptional circumstances and we have been consulting extensively with local and State Government in relation to developing a short term solution," Haggarty says.

According to WHC, the application has been made under Section 75W of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) which relates to modifications to existing approvals.

The application asks for emergency transportation of coal by road until the damaged railway has been repaired and rail transport can restart.

"We do not currently have approval to truck coal from the Narrabri mine, even in special circumstances, and any approval to do so will need to be managed through the NSW State Government process and local government, and will include traffic and other assessments," Haggarty says.

"Trucking is only being considered as an interim measure and any approval would be short term.

"We do not have capacity at Gunnedah CHPP to handle all Narrabri coal, however short term trucking would reduce the impact of the rail closure and allow production at the Narrabri mine to continue while the track repairs are completed."

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