Port Waratah’s Terminal 4 project has been given the greenlight by the Planning Assessment Commission.
“After almost five years, today marks a significant and very welcome milestone for the Terminal 4 Project and the local coal industry,” Port Waratah CEO Hennie du Plooy said.
However, he did acknowledge that “the world has changed since we originally lodged the application for Terminal 4 in 2010 and the need for extra coal export capacity is not so immediate”.
“Despite this, planning certainty will allow the industry to respond in good time if additional capacity is required,” he said.
“The PAC’s determination also provides the community with certainty about the conditions that would apply to a development.”
The NSW Minerals Council welcomed the news, calling the approval of the infrastructure a significant investment for the more than 10,000 Hunter Valley coal miners.
The Hunter Valley Business Chamber also welcomed the announcement, with Chamber CEO Kristen Keegan stating that the $5 billion development gives certainty to the business community.
“Today’s approval of the T4 project is a positive move on behalf of the Planning Assessment Commission. It demonstrates an understanding of the need to be responsive to market demand into the future,” Keegan said.
However, local environmental groups have slammed the approvals, calling it simply a “tick-a-box” process.
The Coal Terminal Action Group (CTAG), the Correct Planning and Consultation for Mayfield Group, and Climate Action Newcastle all condemned the approvals.
“It is disappointing to see that the NSW Government has made a decision out of line with markets and local sentiment,” Australia Institute economist Rod Campbell added.
“The economic assessment of the T4 project was shown to be sorely lacking by the PAC’s own review, demonstrating the low standards of the economics consulting profession. Unfortunately the NSW Government doesn’t seem to care about this latest round of coal industry dodgy economic modelling,” he said.