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Ensham uses choppers to evacuate employees

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					     Ensham uses choppers to evacuate employees
SUNDAY: Queensland thermal coal producer, Ensham Resources, has used helicopters to evacuate
employees stranded at the mine which was cut in half by massive flood waters on the weekend.

After visiting the Mine on Saturday afternoon, Ensham Resources CEO, John Pegler, said flooding
far exceeding the ‘one in a hundred’ magnitude, had entered the mine as floodwaters moved down
the Theresa Creek into the Nogoa River.

“Our first priority is the safety of our people and the wellbeing of their families in this challenging
situation. This means helping those facing devastation at home as well as getting on with mine
operations and recovery of flooded pits.

“Crews in some parts of the Mine are continuing normal operations and other crews are moving
equipment to higher ground and monitoring the situation pit by pit. Happily, everybody is
accounted for and no injuries have been reported,” Mr Pegler said.

Many employees were allowed to go home before the flood hit the mine access road last Friday,
while others elected to stay on site and help with flood preparations.

“Employees who now need to be home with family as floodwaters threatened the township of
Emerald were being flown out of the mine by helicopter today (Sunday).

Whilst the initial flooding was mostly attributable to floodwaters in the Theresa Creek system, the
subsequent floodwater releases from Fairbairn Dam and uncontrolled flows into the Nogoa River
since Saturday were likely to worsen the situation in the next two to three days.

“The flooding of the Theresa Creek system northwest of Ensham and Nogoa River system
southwest of the mine and the release of flood flows of the Fairbairn Dam at the same time is a
most unusual occurrence and one which is unprecedented in our experience,” Mr Pegler said.

Despite a magnificent effort by employees, the incredible speed of the arriving flood overwhelmed
one of the very slow moving draglines while it was moving out of the lowest-lying Pit early on
Saturday morning.

This dragline – one of four operating at the mine subsequently became completely submerged by
flood waters and it will be some time until it can be recovered. Some portable offices and buildings
and a contractor’s crane were also submerged as floodwaters broke into a second pit late on
Saturday.

Three other draglines have been moved to higher ground including the new ultra large Bucryrus
8750 commissioned a year ago at a cost exceeding $100 million. One machine is continuing to
work in a pit in the north of the 30 kilometre long mine

Ensham has been forced to declare Force Majeure and will be unable to meet immediate shipping
schedules. This will be reviewed as recovery options are considered in the coming week.

“It is far too early to determine the full extent of disruptions to normal production and sales, but I
am very confident that the very strong Ensham spirit is more than up to the business recovery task
ahead,” Mr Pegler said.

Media information:
David Petrikas Ph (+612) 9943 2026 Mob 0408 636 414 david.petrikas@ensham.com.au
Media information:
David Petrikas Ph (+612) 9943 2026 Mob 0408 636 414 david.petrikas@ensham.com.au
Media information:
David Petrikas Ph (+612) 9943 2026 Mob 0408 636 414 david.petrikas@ensham.com.au

				
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posted:8/24/2011
language:English
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