Coal wagon delivery bolsters Aurizon in the Hunter Valley

Rail operator Aurizon has received a newly-built batch of coal wagons at the Port of Newcastle in New South Wales.

Aurizon has described the development as a clear symbol of the continuing growth in coal exports and Hunter Valley’s coal industry employment.

Catherine Baxter, Aurizon’s general manager in NSW, said the 32 wagons in the consignment were only one part of a 284-wagon order, with each wagon having capacity to carry up to 97.8t of coal.

“These wagons will enter service for our newest customers, AGL Macquarie and MACH Energy, demonstrating the strong growth we have seen in our New South Wales Coal haulage operations since we started in 2005,” Baxter said.

“Our coal haulage has increased from 180,000t in 2005 to 48Mt in 2017, underlining the broader opportunities in the coal sector for regional employment and income generated in, and for the local community.”

The Minerals Council of NSW revealed last month that stronger coal prices have added more than 1000 mining jobs in the Hunter Valley over the past year.

“When we started out in the Hunter Valley, we had less than 10 employees and we now proudly employ more than 450 people across our operations,” Baxter said.

Australian coal exports have also continued to grow in value, with 2017 exports valued at $56.5 billion or 35 per cent higher than in 2016, according to Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs’ data.