An update from Queensland Rail's CEO Nick Easy:
"We are committed to providing the community, our stakeholders and our freight partners with regular updates as we recover our network from the unprecedented flooding impacts recently experienced in North Queensland, based on the information available to us at this time.
"It's important the advice and information we're providing is accurate and meaningful for our communities, stakeholders and freight partners.
"The Mount Isa Line between Cloncurry and Hughenden, and many surrounding communities and roads, continue to be impacted by extensive flood waters which are yet to recede.
"Recovering the Mount Isa Line for our freight partners and reconnecting this important supply chain is a key priority for us.
"We know how important the Mount Isa Line is to the local economy and for the export market. There is certainly a lot of work to do, but at this stage we anticipate rectification of the line ahead of the 6 – 12 months being reported.
"Unfortunately, it is too early for us to be providing more definitive advice regarding repair timeframes for the Mount Isa Line, given flood waters surrounding the site and on roads connecting to the site are yet to recede.
"The Flinders Highway is currently closed due to flooding in several sections, including a critical section for us between Julia Creek to Nelia which was inundated by up to approximately 1.5 metres of flood waters as of yesterday.
Creeks between Hughenden and Cloncurry are receding slowly, but large sections of track between Richmond and Julia Creek remain underwater.
"Once flood waters recede, we will need to wait for ground conditions to improve in order to allow for the mobilisation of people, plant and equipment to site. However, our people are activated and ready to commence work as soon as they safely can and are continuing to regularly monitor local conditions.
"We have already commenced removing debris off the track at Richmond, have ballast trains and crews positioned at both Cloncurry and Hughenden, and yesterday delivered 5,000 sleepers to Hughenden which will be followed by a further 5,000 sleepers arriving in Cloncurry by the end of the week in preparation for track repairs.
"Over the past week, we have been working closely with Pacific National on their recovery plan for their flood impacted train at Nelia, so that work on this recovery can immediately start once site access becomes available.
"Simultaneously, identifying and managing any impacts from the spill of minerals into local flood waters is of utmost priority and we are working closely with Pacific National, Glencore, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, and independent environmental specialists on an environmental action plan for the site which will form a critical part of our next steps.
"I'd like to provide assurance that recovering the line between Townsville and Mount Isa is an absolute priority for our business.
"As soon as local conditions improve, we gain physical access to the site, and we can determine an accurate timeframe for the recovery of the line, this information will be shared with our with our communities, stakeholders and freight partners immediately.
"We were pleased to reopen the North Coast Line south of Townsville on Saturday 9 February after crews worked around the clock in just three days to repair 16 kilometres of track and repack 1500 tonnes of ballast. This re-established an important freight connection between Brisbane and Townsville.
"Following further recovery work north of Townsville, we are also pleased to confirm the North Coast Line has opened in its entirety today.
"We thank everyone for their understanding regarding the impacts of this unprecedented flood event, which have devastated North Queensland. Our thoughts remain with all those who have been impacted by the floods in North Queensland."