Port Waratah Plans to Expand Newcastle Coal Export Capacity 80%

Port Waratah Coal Services Ltd., operator of two export terminals at Australia’s Newcastle, plans to increase its shipping capacity by 80 percent through the development of an additional processing point at the harbor.

The terminal, to be known as T4, may have capacity of as much as 90 million metric tons a year, Port Waratah General Manager Graham Davidson said in an interview today. He declined to say when operations will start at the new site, to be developed in stages.

Xstrata Plc, BHP Billiton Ltd. and Anglo American Plc are among mining companies that ship the fuel from Newcastle, which has three terminals. Producers are seeking a 35 percent increase in Port Waratah’s export capacity by 2014, taking it to 153 million tons a year from 113 million tons now. Coal imports by China are forecast to gain by 80 million tons in the next three years, Deutsche Bank AG. said Oct. 19.

“We believe that we can get between 80 million and 90 million tons worth of capacity” out of T4, Davidson said from Newcastle in New South Wales state. About 8 percent of the coal shipped by Port Waratah from Newcastle is destined for China, compared with 2 percent “in the middle of last year,” he said.

Port Waratah in February approved a A$670 million ($654 million) expansion that will take its capacity to 133 million tons by the end of 2011. Studies are underway to raise capacity to 145 million tons by the end of 2012, the company said Dec. 1.

China imported 125.8 million tons of the fuel last year, customs figures show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Clyde Russell in Singapore at crussell7@bloomberg.net

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