HomeEnergy MineralsXstrata plans new Australian coal port

Xstrata plans new Australian coal port

An Xstrata coal
operation in
Perth, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 October, 2009 – Xstrata Plc “’ the world’s top exporter of steam coal “’ is planning to build a new US$927 million (R7.4 billion) coal port in Australia.
A statement released here confirmed that the proposed Balaclava Island coal export terminal would have an export capacity of up to 35 million tonnes a year, and would ship coal from the Bowen and Surat basins in the north-eastern state of Queensland, said a spokesman for Xstrata’s coal unit in Australia.

He added that the port, which would be able to accommodate vessels of up to 110 000 tonnes, would help alleviate congestion at three other coal terminals in Queensland, located at Gladstone, Dalrymple Bay and Abbot Point.

Reuters reports that most of Australia’s coal ports are dogged by infrastructure constraints and suffer from endemic congestion, with the bottlenecks resulting in lengthy queues of ships waiting for berths.

The ship queues and lengthy waiting times for vessels to load coal have in recent years become a big headache for Australian coal miners, as the logjams have crimped their sales and cost them millions of dollars in shipping penalties.

According to documents filed with the federal environment department, Xstrata said existing port capacities and known future port expansions would not be able to handle its production growth expectations.

The Balaclava port would service increased production at Xstrata’s Rollestone and Oaky Creek coal mines, the documents showed.

Xstrata hopes to start construction of the port in 2012, and for the facility to be operational by 2014.