Kooragang Island coal terminal ramps up

$2.5 billion upgrades to the Kooragang Island coal terminal in the Hunter Valley on schedule for completion in late 2013

Kooragang Island coal terminal ramps up
Kooragang Island coal terminal ramps up

By Anna Game-Lopata | July 3, 2012

The Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) says its $2.5 billion upgrades to the Kooragang Island coal terminal in the Hunter Valley region of NSW
are on schedule for
completion in late 2013.

NCIG General Manager Operations Paul Beale tells SupplyChain Review Stage 2AA of
the project, known as K10, will shortly ramp up to its final phase.

Dubbed ‘Stage 2F’ the final phase of development will involve
the expansion of capacity at the
facility from 53 to 66 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) as planned.

"The additional infrastructure to be constructed for this final stage includes a fourth stacker-reclaimer, a third berth as well as the associated conveyor network," Beale says.

With capacity of 30 million tonnes a year and costing more than $1-billion, Stage 1 of the terminal was completed in just over two years and was officially opened on May 3, 2010.

It included dredging of the south arm of the Hunter River for shipping channels and berths, construction of a rail loop, dump station, stockyards, stacker-reclaimers, sample stations, shiploader and wharf facilities on the 136 hectare site.

All export capacity is allocated to NCIG partners, in accordance with shareholding.

Stage 2AA of the
K10 project currently underway, will boost capacity to 53 million tonnes per year.

Works include a new rail unloading facility and rail sidings, an additional stacker-reclaimer and stockyards, additional conveyors and sample stations and an additional shiploader.

Founded in 2004,
by producers BHP, Centennial Coal, Donaldson Coal and Excel Coal, the NCIG was set up to tackle coal chain bottlenecks at the Port of Newcastle .

Prior to this time, all coal exports from the Hunter Region were exported through coal terminals managed by Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS).

Beale says the group’s breakaway founders, then minority PWCS shareholders, were unhappy with the existing system where producers relied on shared rail and port facilities to export from the Port of Newcastle.

"The coal supply chain was unable to keep up with strong buyer demand," Beale says.

"PWCS implemented a capacity distribution system which capped the tonnage producers could export, but this was not a long- term fix," he says.

NCIG members aimed to increase their coal production by at least 30 million tonnes in the short term and ultimately reach production of over 50 million tonnes.

"To ensure sufficient infrastructure capacity and to improve efficiency of the coal chain the development of an additional coal terminal facility was necessary," Beale says.

Upon completion, coal capacity at Newcastle Port is expected to be more than 180 million tonnes per annum, with potential for further expansion.

"NCIG has already provided additional capacity for coal exports at the Port of Newcastle," Beale says.

"The new terminal offers additional wharves for shipping operations, additional stockyards for storage of coal, and additional rail infrastructure for unloading of trains.

"The terminal is designed with dedicated storage areas for each shipper allowing coal to be delivered to the port on a regular and more even program.

Beale adds NCIG has ensured that safety is a high priority for both construction and operations.

"This has been achieved by engagement with all stakeholders on the site to maintain and continue to improve the safety performance," he says.

Valued at over $45 million each, the two initial stacker reclaimers are among the largest in the world. Weighing in at 2500 tonnes and standing 40 metres high, their booms span 70 metres in length.

A further two stacker/reclaimers are being constructed.

"The NCIG terminal has a highly automated and technological advanced design," Beale says.

"Where possible, the numbers of types of plant components have been reduced to provide standard equipment.

"Wide stockpiles have been introduced to increase storage and enable rail deliveries to be separately planned from ship arrivals," he says.

Since the K10 project’s commencement, $700 million in tenders have been awarded to local firms, 4800 people have been employed and 800 people are on site each day.

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