Nathan Tinkler has finally unveiled Hunter Ports’ plan for its proposed $2.5 billion coal loader terminal in Newcastle.
Situated on the former BHP steelworks site, the coal loader will create a new rail link and reportedly remove around 90% of coal trains from residential areas, Hunter Ports claims.
Hunter Ports managing director Steve van Barneveld explained that "a highlight of our plan is to create a new rail corridor through the industrial land adjacent to the Hunter River.
"This will remove an estimated 90% of coal trains from the main north-south line, permitting the closure of the Mayfield rail corridor and transforming the surrounding communities."
The company is carrying out a letter drop to around 14 000 local households as well as holding a series of community information sessions over the next fortnight.
The announcement comes as Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS), which runs the Kooragang Island coal loaders, plans to lodge is environmental assessment for the massive T4 loader.
PWCS has previously stated that Tinkler’s new coal loader will weaken the commercial framework for the Hunter Valley Coal Chain.
Newly installed PWCS chief Hennie du Plooy told the Newcastle City Council that Tinkler’s terminal creates a number of problems.
Du Plooy said that it will affect the long term commercial framework for the Hunter Valley Coal Chain, which attempts to address the long running issues of bottlenecks across the route.
“The [proposed Tinkler terminal] doesn’t currently fit into the long-term commercial framework,” du Plooy said.
“It would need to fit with that commercial framework.”
However, Barneveld said the port will positively change operational standards in the way export coal is handled.
He went on to say that it will also lift environmental standards due to the potential for the creation of a ‘green belt’ along the Mayfield rail corridor.
"Our proposed rail corridor can also service other port-related industries, removing current and future heavy trucks from industrial areas."
It will also utilise noise barriers, barriers around the stockpile areas to reduce dust, and high density coal storage to lower exposed surface areas to further minimise dust, as well as fully enclosed unloading facilities and conveyors.
According to Hunter ports, economic analysts believe the proposal will create around 800 jobs during construction and another 1600 during operation.
It will generate approximately $12 billion annually, as well as adding another 100 million tonnes to Newcastle’s export capacity.
Following an assessment of this latest proposal, Hunter Ports will being work on an environmental impact statement for the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.