Australia's flood-stricken coal industry may encounter months of disruptions as reports emerge of key rail and road links being washed away, while some infrastructure may take years to repair, authorities said on Friday.

About 200,000 people have been affected by the flooding and three people killed. Damage from the floods, the worst in the state in 50 years, has been anticipated at $5 billion.

Floodwaters were receding on Friday in some areas but fresh flooding was forecast downstream as a result of more monsoon rains. The muddy inland sea has stranded some of Australia's best beef cattle on tiny islands, destroyed wheat and sugar crops, and swept deadly snakes into homes.

Australia's $50 billion coal export industry has been brought to a virtual standstill.

The floods have swamped mines in Queensland State, affecting operations that produce 35% of Australia's estimated 259 million tons of exportable coal. Australia contributes two-thirds of global coking-coal exports, needed to make steel.

One obstacle facing flooded mines from resuming operations is they are only permitted to pump some water out of pits and into the still flooded rivers.


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