Newcastle coal loader plans go public

 Plans to expand the world’s largest coal export terminal go public today.

Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) has been developing the $5 billion port’s plan since 2010, and would see it provide capacity for an extra 120 million tonnes of coal annually.

According to PWCS CEO Hennie du Plooy the project will add approximately $10 billion to Newcastle’s economy, and provide 2000 jobs during construction and around 400 jobs during operation.

While the approvals process is on track, with construction scheduled for 2014, the project has drawn criticism for its dust management plans.

The dust plans include water spray systems on stackers and reclaimers’ an automated predictive and reactive ‘intelligent’ dust management system which uses real time information to spray; extendable ship loaders; and conveyor guards.

"There were a number of issues raised like visual amenity from the Stockton side, the noise, which we know is associated mostly with the rail alignment, but the number one concern was dust," Mr du Plooy told the Newcastle Herald.

"I expect that the EA [environmental assessment] will attract significant attention and we are ready to deal with that.

"Carrington is certainly ahead of Kooragang because it already has online monitors, environmental monitoring and weather conditions all coming into the one system that manages the sprays."

However local community group Correct Planning and Consultation for Mayfield is reportedly ‘sceptical’ over PWCS dust management claims.

"Anybody who lives in Newcastle knows there is a blanketing of coal dust in many suburbs close to the coal loaders every day of the year, 365 days," group spokesperson John Hayes told the ABC.

"There’s a widespread view that spraying water and dust on the coal dust piles doesn’t do much to suppress dust.

"There’s also a widespread view that with the monitoring that takes place, frequently that the monitors aren’t in the right position.

"Then of course at what size do they do the monitoring because the smaller size particles can get straight into your lungs," he said.

While the T4 plans goes ahead, the NSW Government recently rejected mining magnate Nathan Tinkler’s plan for another coal loader in the city.

Tinkler’s proposed T5 coal loader would have been located at the site of the former BHP steelworks in Mayfield.

An assessment by the government stated that the proposal’s benefits were outweighed by its potentially adverse effects.

It went on to say that the creation of the coal loader created uncertainty in the industry as it could potentially jeopardise existing coal agreements at Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) new port.

Coal magnate Nathan Tinkler put forward the proposal for its $2.5 billion coal loader in November last year.



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