Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) has heralded the New South Wales Government’s proposal for a new terminal access framework for the troubled Hunter Valley Coal Chain as a breakthrough for the industry.
“This is a highly significant and historic plan that looks set to finally iron out a multitude of inefficiencies that have hampered the Hunter Valley Coal Chain for so many years,” PWCS chair Professor Eileen Doyle said.
“The plan appears to strike a balance between giving existing miners the certainty they need to invest in infrastructure and increase output, and giving new entrants the certainty they need to access the port.”
The proposal is a combination of recommendations from a report by former NSW Premier Nick Greiner and key requirements of the NSW Government and the coal industry.
The proposed framework includes: giving PWCS the opportunity to lease additional government land and build a fourth coal loading terminal on Kooragang Island; the ability for all producers to commit to long-term terminal contracts, creating export certainty and security; and an ability for a pro-rata levy on all coal exports to cover the cost of any terminal expansion shortfalls.
According to Doyle, both the NSW Government and the coal industry need to urgently demonstrate to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that the plan is viable.
“PWCS urges the New South Wales Government and the Hunter coal industry to make a very clear case about the merits of this new plan to the competition regulator,” Doyle said.
“This would be a stepping stone to the New South Wales Government and the coal industry finalising the new long-term plan for ACCC authorisation.”
The new plan will help both new and existing coal producers, PWCS general manager Graham Davidson said.
“It’s in everyone’s interests for both loaders to expand as quickly as possible to cater for incumbent and new producers, and it now looks as if the pieces are finally falling into place to make that possible,” he said.
“This plan would add a massive dose of badly needed commercial reality to the Coal Chain.”