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Australia’s NSW State Seeks to Lease Newcastle Export Coal Port

Australia’s New South Wales state is planning to offer a long-term lease for Newcastle port, the world’s biggest export harbor for coal used in power stations, as it seeks funds for infrastructure projects.

The proposed lease is subject to a scoping study, Mike Baird, NSW treasurer, said in e-mailed speech notes for the state’s budget that was released today. The government in April sold 99-year leases for Port Botany in southern Sydney and Port Kembla in Wollongong for A$5.07 billion ($4.8 billion) to a group including Industry Funds Management and a unit of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

NSW, Australia’s most-populous state, is offering leases to raise funds for infrastructure including road and rail projects, Baird said. Glencore Xstrata Plc, the world’s biggest exporter of thermal coal, Peabody Energy Corp. and Rio Tinto Group are among companies that ship coal from Newcastle to countries such as Japan, South Korea and China.

“The success of Port Botany and Port Kembla dictates that we act now,” Baird said, announcing a budget deficit of A$374 million for the financial year ending June.

Port Botany is the nation’s second-biggest container port after Melbourne and sits on Botany Bay. The Port Kembla terminal is about 72 kilometers (45 miles) south of Sydney and is the conduit for coal transported from mines in the south and west of the state, according to its website. NSW is home to about a third of Australia’s almost 23 million people.

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