Flooding Will Hamper Aussie Coal Sales

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Australia could lose up to $2.3 billion in coal sales due to the Queensland floods, the worst flooding the country has seen in at least several years. At full production, the coal industry is worth $8.5 million a day to Queensland state, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

BHP Billiton (BHP), the world's largest mining company, and Rio Tinto (RIO), the world's second-largest iron ore producer, are expected to release production figures later this week that will detail any output problems resulting from the floods.

Deutsche Bank expects Rio to report coal production of 7.6 million tonnes for the December quarter, according to the Herald. RBS is forecasting that BHP, the largest coal miner in Queensland, will reveal that the floods will result in lost sales of more than 8.5 million tons, comparable to the levels seen during 2008 flooding in the region, the paper said.

Analysts have said the flooding should not weigh on either company's earnings to the point of being problematic and recent increases in copper and iron ore prices will help mitigate the lost coal sales.

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