NSW and India improve coal ties

 The ties between NSW and India have increased on the back of demand for coking coal.

Increasing levels of metallurgical coal from NSW are now heading to India, with 72% of all coal leaving Port Kembla headed for the country, a jump from 59% in 2009-10, and 51% in 2008-09.

NSW Minerals Council deputy CEO Sue-Ern Tan yesterday travelled to New Dehli to promote the quality of the state’s resources at industry conference Global Steel 2012.

Furthering the link, while it was Australia Day it was also Republic Day in India.

"I’ll be flying the flag for NSW on our national day to show that we are well placed to meet the growing demand for coal in India," Tan said.

"India is the world’s fourth biggest producer of steel and the third largest importer of metallurgical coal for steel making. While there has been a softening of demand due to the economic slowdown in Europe, future growth still looks strong out of Asia which is predicted to account for 75% of global metallurgical coal demand by 2030.

"NSW has a world-class workforce, a solid reputation for high grade coal and a strong trading relationship with Asia that we are building on to grow our exports and economic returns for the people of NSW.

"That’s reflected in the activity at our ports too. It’s good to see the Port Kembla Port Corporation is expanding its capacity, starting with the reclamation of 42 hectares of land currently underway. The Port Kembla Coal Terminal will also expand in the near future so that coal producers in the Illawarra and the Central West can grow their market share."

Potential industrial action at Port Kembla has recently threatened exports.

Unless a last minute deal is negotiated on new enterprise agreements, a proposed week long strike is likely to shut down the coal terminal.

CFMEU district vice president Bob Timbs said the deal put forth by the coal terminal was knocked back and industrial action next week is likely.

"At this stage if we can’t come up with an agreement by 7am next Wednesday, we’ll be shutting down the Port Kembla Coal Terminal for seven days," he told the Illawarra Mercury.

The workers are demanding a 4.5% pay rise and increased job security.

"Port Kembla Coal Terminal management, under advice by BHP Billiton, are trying to have some jobs which are under the agreement removed," Timbs said.

"The other thing is some certainty on manning levels."

While coal terminal general manager Peter Green refused to comment on the stumbling blocks in the agreement, he did say that negotiations are continuing. 


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