Possible port expansion flagged

The Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group is gauging interest in further expansion at the Port of Newcastle.

The Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) is gauging interest from local and international coal producers in further expansion of the third export terminal at the Port of Newcastle.

The NCIG, made up of six major coal producers including BHP Billiton, is seeking expressions of interest in take or pay coal contracts from companies outside of its current membership.

Stage 1 development of the third terminal, which will add 30 million tonnes to its annual capacity in 2010, is currently 60% complete. The possible Stage 2 expansion would double its capacity to around 60 million tonnes.

A spokesperson for the Federal Government’s Infrastructure Australia initiative told MINING DAILY that it is in favour of determining the interest of private companies in the expansion.

“The Federal Government is supportive of the NSW Government’s efforts to work closely with industry to attract ongoing private sector investment in the Port of Newcastle,” the spokesperson said.

New South Wales Minister for Ports and Waterways Joe Tripodi has also welcomed the possible expansion.

“This is what the (NSW) Government set out to achieve when it sat down with industry 20 months ago,” he said.

“A long term export allocation plan for existing and new producers providing terminal operators with greater certainty to invest in new capacity.

“The call for expressions of interest is an important first step towards providing a further 30 million tonnes of capacity at the NCIG terminal.”

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