Drought closes coal mine

Queensland’s second largest power station, Swanbank, was confident of returning to full production this year, despite Rio Tinto sacking 160 miners supplying the nearby Tarong power station because of the worsening drought. Rio Tinto said it had no choice but to reduce production levels at Tarong mine and cut employee numbers. According to Stephen Wisenthal and Mark Ludlow in The Australian Financial Review (17/5/07, p. 8), State Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney said it could be the first in a wave of job losses; after level 5 water orders led to:

•  Tarong to cut its electricity production by 70 per cent;

•  Swanbank to cut electricity production production in half.

Tarong Energy cut production at the 1400 megawatt Tarong station at the beginning of April to conserve water, as the dam that supplied it, fell to 15 per cent of capacity.

Pipeline to reach Swanbank a year before Tarong: But CS Energy, the government-owned generator that owned Swanbank, has maintained deliveries of coal from miner New Hope. It was ready to return the 480 megawatt station to full capacity as soon as it was connected to the recycled water pipeline, which would arrive at Swanbank in August or September, a year earlier than it was scheduled to reach Tarong.

The Australian Financial Review, 17/5/2007, p.8

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