ROCKHAMPTON, Australia (Reuters) - Floodwaters eased in Australias major coal mining region on Tuesday to allow some mines to slowly resume production, although most remain idle as devastating floods affect some 200,000 people and force towns to be evacuated. Floods have submerged or disrupted life across an area the size of France and Germany combined, according to the premier of Queensland state, and more people evacuated their homes on Tuesday as others built moats and sandbag levees to stop waters surging downstream. The weather bureau has declared flood warnings for seven river systems in Queensland, with monsoon rains forecast for the states tropical north and thunderstorms for the southeast. The state is the worlds biggest exporter of coal used in steel-making and the floodwaters have brought production and shipments overseas to a virtual standstill, pushing world coal prices higher. Queensland Resource Council said it would take until next week to determine when exports would return to normal. This is a three part drama: first mining production has to resume, then transport and then ports, said a council spokesman. Many miners sent home to defend their houses and families were now cleaning-up properties as waters recede, while others could not return to mines because rail lines and roads were still flooded. The mayor of Rockhampton, a town of 75,000 that is surrounded by water and is virtually sealed off from the rest of the country, warned residents it will be at least another 10 days before floodwaters receded significantly. We will see significant inundation for the best part of another two weeks, Mayor Brad Carter said. The Bureau of Meteorology said floodwaters in the Bowen Basin in Queensland were certainly receding, but still high, adding that the peak of the flooding had moved through the major coal mining region around the town of Emerald. Australia accounts for more than half of global coking coal exports which are especially important for Asian countries such as booming China. Wesfarmers said it was resuming output at its Curragh mine in the Bowen Basin, but that force majeure on exports remained in place and that it would take until early February to return to normal production. This has been a flood the likes of which we have never seen before in the region and certainly not in the life of the Curragh mine, said Wesfarmers Resources Managing Director Stewart Butel. It is still expected to be some time before the river returns to normal levels. Queensland coal mines which can produce more than 90 million tonnes a year have declared force majeure, which releases companies from contractual obligations, pushing up long-term pricing for coking and thermal coal. Spot coking coal prices have risen around 10 percent in a month and look set to move sharply higher as Australian customers look for new supplies to cover output.