T4 coal loader plans move ahead

PORT Waratah Coal Services expects to lodge the final plans for stage one of its T4 coal loader early next year.

 PWCS chief executive Hennie du Plooy said the final design of the project would be lodged as a ‘‘preferred project report’’ with the NSW Department of Planning.

Stage one of T4 would handle up to 70 million tonnes of coal a year with its berths all on Kooragang Island.

A second stage, if needed, could be built to add another 50 million tonnes capacity, but the berths would be on the Mayfield side of the river.

“To fulfil its obligations under Newcastle’s coal export plan (the long term commercial framework), PWCS is pursuing the T4 development to meet contracted coal industry demand for export capacity above what can be delivered from the existing terminals,’’ Mr du Plooy said.

“Targeting a smaller initial approval supports delivering this capacity at the lowest possible cost for an industry that is adjusting to a changing economic environment.’’

The T4 environmental assessment went on display in March this year and the Planning Minister Brad Hazzard announced an independent review of the project in September.

This review by the Planning Assessment Commission was to be finished within three months of the preferred project report being lodged, unless the head of the planning department changed his mind.

Mr du Plooy said the first stage of the project would cost as much as $5 billion and result in about 1500 construction jobs.

Today’s statement made no mention of a starting time for T4 but the company has previously said it expects T4 to be operating from the second half of 2017.

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