ACCC threatens to delay Newcastle coal

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said it will pull the pin on a scheme to manage the coal vessel queue in the Hunter if a consortium led by BHP Billiton does not agree to a long term port access protocol by Monday.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said it will pull the pin on a scheme to manage the coal vessel queue in the Hunter if a consortium led by BHP Billiton does not agree to a long term port access protocol by Monday.

According to a newspaper report, ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel wrote to stakeholders yesterday expressing the frustration that they had failed to submit a framework for implementing a long-term access protocol by the March 31 deadline.

, the ACCC issued a draft decision proposing to grant authorisation to Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) and Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) for a short term capacity balancing system until 30 June 2009.

Samuel told stakeholders that the framework submitted on Tuesday by rival terminal PWCS and the Newcastle Port Corporation, without NCIG sign off was satisfactory.

“While the ACC has been advised by NCIG that it is committed to finalising its remaining issues over the next week with the NSW government, the fact remains that the [parties failed to reach agree mention the implementation memorandum by the March 31 deadline,” Samuel wrote.

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