New­cas­tle’s third coal loader start signed and sealed

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Resources -

NEW­CAS­TLE Coal In­fra­struc­ture Group, se­lected to build a third coal ex­port ter­mi­nal at the Aus­tralian port, says it has fi­nanc­ing for the project — al­low­ing con­struc­tion to start im­me­di­ately.

The group, led by BHP Bil­li­ton, has signed a 35-year lease for the site from the NSW state Gov­ern­ment, it said in a state­ment lodged with the Aus­tralian Stock Ex­change by Cen­ten­nial Coal, a ven­ture part­ner. The fi­nanc­ing cov­ers the ex­pected cost of $1 bil­lion plus con­tin­gen­cies, it said.

The group in mid-2005 won the ten­der to build a third ter­mi­nal at the world’s big­gest coal-ex­port har­bor, beat­ing a bid by Port Waratah Coal Ser­vices, owner of the ex­ist­ing two ter­mi­nals. Bot­tle­necks at New­cas­tle boosted the num­ber of ships wait­ing to load at the port last year and helped drive up prices.

‘‘ To­day’s an­nounce­ment helps the en­tire coal in­dus­try and re­in­forces our com­mit­ment to long-term in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment in the re­gion,’’ NSW Trea­surer Michael Costa said in the state­ment.

BHP Bil­li­ton Fi­nance pro­vided se­nior debt and se­cured notes in the fund­ing pack­age, New­cas­tle Coal In­fra­struc­ture said. Seven banks pro­vided fi­nanc­ing: Aus­tralia & New Zealand Bank­ing Group, DZ Bank AG Deutsche Zen­tral-Genossen­schafts­bank, Dexia Groupe, KBC Fi­nance Ire­land, Over­seas-Chi­nese Bank­ing, Su­mit­omo Mit­sui Bank­ing and Sun­corp-Met­way. ANZ Bank ad­vised the group on the fi­nanc­ing.

Con­struc­tion of the ter­mi­nal on Koor­a­gang Is­land will ini­tially in­crease the ca­pac­ity of the Hunter Val­ley coal ex­port sys­tem, ex­pected at about 95 mil­lion tonnes this year, by about 30 mil­lion tonnes start­ing in 2010.

Equip­ment in­clud­ing two stack­er­reclaimers, used to move coal at the ter­mi­nal, and a ship-loader have been or­dered from Sand­vik AB, Felix Re­sources, which has a stake in the project, has said in a sep­a­rate state­ment to the ex­change.

BHP, which owns 35.5 per cent of the project, said it ap­proved spend­ing of $390 mil­lion on the ter­mi­nal. Pe­abody En­ergy, Donaldson Coal Pty and White­haven Coal Min­ing also own stakes in the project, as well as Cen­ten­nial and Felix. Bloomberg

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