RECENT reports that Queensland's newest coal port is in trouble are "nonsense", with three speakers confirming on Wednesday that it would go ahead.
The WICET project is so close to completion that the workforce on Gladstone's new coal terminal will halve before Christmas, with construction sitting at 96%.
Presenters from Cockatoo Coal, Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal and Aurizon, at day one of Wednesday's Gladstone Engineering Alliance Major Industry Conference, gave their assurances that despite the collapse of one of the eight owners, Bandanna Energy, the $2.6 billion WICET project was on track to start exporting coal in November.
Cockatoo Coal managing director Andrew Lawson said from a shareholder point of view, as Cockatoo was one of the eight companies involved, it had big shareholders behind it that had guaranteed the project.
"WICET will service its debt at much lower tonnage levels throughput than it currently is forecasting," he said.
"The port is virtually built. It's going to go ahead. WICET's going to happen."
WICET general manager, project delivery, Malcom McPhann told the conference the terminal would be ready for commercial operation in the first quarter of 2015.
"A gradual decline in construction workforce numbers will take effect from now until December," he said.
"We're running at 900 (workers). By Christmas it will be 250 and early next year a skeleton staff will prepare to hand over."
WICET COMING ONLINE:
- Commercial operation in early 2015
- Terminal throughput will increase in line with demand
- GPC will operate the terminal on behalf of WICET's owners
- A joint WICET/GPC operational readiness group is in place
- A gradual decline in construction workforce numbers will take effect from now until December, moving from 900 workers to 250