HomeEnergy Minerals RBCT Phase Five expansion delayed again

RBCT Phase Five expansion delayed again

The Richards Bay
Coal Terminal
Richards Bay — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 December 2009 – The Phase Five expansion of the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) may now only be commissioned by the end of March 2010, following serious problems with the terminal’s new computer control system.

Miningmx.com reports that this is the latest in a string of delays for the commissioning date of the expanded terminal, which will have the capacity to handle 91 million tonnes of coal annually.

The Phase Five facilities were initially supposed to be commissioned by the end of March 2009. That was delayed to 1 July and then to 1 October.

RBCT CEO Raymond Chirwa subsequently denied that 1 October had been set as a target date, claiming instead that the commissioning date had been set for “sometime” during the fourth quarter of 2009.

Chirwa was not immediately available for comment on the latest delay, which was reported by UK coal industry news service McCloskey’s Coal Report (MCR) earlier this month.

In early October, Chirwa told Miningmx that Phase Five was undergoing its “final stages of technical optimisation before being officially commissioned”. He added that a media statement about completion of the R1.1billion expansion would be released “very soon”.

Chirwa commented that the statement would also contain information on the resolution of the dispute between the Phase Five exporters and the existing RBCT members over coal export allocations. The statement has yet to be released.

According to MCR, the RBCT “has been trying to integrate its new terminal control system for several months, but ongoing problems mean it could turn off the new system entirely and revert back to old one until a solution can be found. It is understood management was due to meet this week to make a decision

A coal industry source tells Miningmx that a decision has now been taken, and the terminal is reverting to the old computer control system while management tries to sort out the software problems of the new system.
Reverting to the former system will not cause any problems with throughput at the terminal, because the old system can handle up to 76Mtpa, and the RBCT is running at levels well below that.