New coal terminal spells mini-construction boom for Newcastle

The approval of a fourth coal terminal at Kooragang Island will mean a boom for construction jobs in the Newcastle area.

Newcastle Herald reported around 1500 new jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase, and 80 positions for operation.

The T4 project has yet to pass the independent Planning Assessment Commission, however the Department of Planning and Environment has given its recommendation to go ahead based on strict conditions governing air quality, noise and biodiversity impacts.

In its recommendation the DPE has doubled its time for the project approval to 10 years.

“The department considers that a longer, 10-year lapse period is appropriate for large, complex projects with long lead times for approval, design and construction, such as T4,” the department said.

The recommendation also said terminal operator Port Waratah Coal Services should pay more than $528,000 in developer contributions, and it has also entered into an agreement with Newcastle City Council to make contributions to local infrastructure.

“Given the limited impacts the project will have on local infrastructure funded by the council, the department’s assessment found it would be unreasonable to ask the company to pay more,” a departmental spokesperson said.

PWCS chief executive Hennie du Plooy said exports from the Newcastle terminals were on par with this time last year, despite the “challenging economic climate.

A report from Coal Services showed coal exports from NSW are up 5 per cent on the previous financial year, indicating a steady demand in the Asian regions.

“As part of the Terminal 4 engineering and environmental studies we have extensively examined the different engineering and construction options to reach an outcome that best balances the environmental, social, economic and engineering factors, and we have sought to continue to achieve this balance when responding to the PAC’s recommendations,” du Plooy said.

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