Newcastle Coal Infrastructure to Export First Cargo.
Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, partly owned by BHP Billiton Ltd., said it will ship its first cargo from a terminal at the Australian port this month after spending more than A$1 billion ($909 million) on the facility. The terminal"s annual export capacity will rise to 30 million metric tons in 2011, Chris Ford, spokesman for Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, or NCIG as it"s known, said in an e- mailed response to questions today. The facility has planning approval for 66 million tons a year.
NCIG, co-owned by Whitehaven Coal Ltd. and Centennial Coal Co., won in 2005 the tender to build a third terminal at the world"s biggest export harbor for power-station coal, beating a bid by Port Waratah Coal Services Ltd., owner of the existing two terminals. NCIG has conducted feasibility studies and investigated funding for future expansion, Ford said.
The outlook for coal demand is positive in the short to long term, he said.
Rio Tinto Group, Xstrata Plc and BHP Billiton are among mining companies that export the fuel from Newcastle. About 82 percent of the coal exported through the port in 2009 was used for power stations, according to Port Waratah.