The first trainload of Hunter Valley coal for export arrived at the recently opened third coal terminal at the Port of Newcastle yesterday, NSW Ports Minister Paul McLeay announced.
The new terminal is the showpiece of a plan by the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG), which includes BHP Billiton, to ease the congestion at the Port of Newcastle.
“In January, the NSW Government brought the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Agreement into effect, providing industry with certainty and security,” McLeay said.
“From this NCIG and its shareholders committed over $1 billion to increase the capacity of the Hunter’s coal export chain.
“The building of Stage One of this terminal has made a notable contribution to the regional and state economy.
“When it reaches full capacity of 30 million tonnes a year the value of New South Wales exports will rise by $3 billion.”
According to the State’s Minister for the Hunter Jodi McKay, the increased capacity at the NCIG terminal was great news for the region.
“Up to 800 people have been working at NCIG each day thanks to the recent expansion,” she said.
“These jobs are great news for families in the Hunter and the flow-on effect they have to the region’s economy is very welcome.”
NCIG general manager Paul Beale said the process of commissioning the massive and complex terminal will take some time.
“Over the past three weeks NCIG has received 12 trains or 80,000 tonnes of ‘sacrificial’ coal,” he said.