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BHP Billiton has approved its share of a $367 million investment for the final stage of the Newcastle Coal Infastructure Group’s coal facility in Newcastle.
Yesterday the six owners of the NCIG completed arrangements for the terminal expansion, with the funds totalling $1 billion.
BHP Billiton’s wholly-owned subsidiary Hunter Valley Energy Coal is a 35.5 per cent share holder in the NCIG.
The port expansion project will increase total capacity at the coal terminal from 53 million tonnes per annum to 66mtpa, and support the future expansions of Mt Authur Coal mine in the Upper Hunter Valley.
The Mt Authur mine is already the largest coalmine in the Hunter Valley.
The final expansion will take BHP’s allocation at the shared terminal from 4.6mtpa to 19.2mtpa.
Other partners in the NCIG project include Peabody Energy, Thai-owned Centennial Coal, Gloucester Coal, Whitehaven Coal, and China’s Yancoal.
The expansion is expected to be commissioned in 2013.
BHP Billiton Energy Coal president Jimmy Wilson said in a statement that the expansions would help strengthen the company’s growth at Mt Authur Mine and Caroona.
“We are steadily growing the Mt Arthur Mine and evaluating the development of Caroona. This port expansion underpins the future of these two sites.”