Claims coal port costs ‘false'

THE cost estimate for the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal has not blown out, according to a Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) spokesperson.

Yesterday, southern media reported that costs to build the coalminer-funded terminal have blown out to $5 billion.

Reports said that the ANZ Bank is chasing $US2.7 billion ($2.8 billion) of loans from domestic and international banks to fund development and other costs of the $2 billion first stage of the coal port.

However, a WICET spokesperson told The Observer that the reports are wrong and have been misunderstood.

“The current scope of stage one has an estimated capital cost in today's values of around $2 billion. This figure has not changed,” the spokesperson said.

“WICET will need to raise additional funds to cover financing costs including interest during construction.”

WICET announced on Monday that stage one of the coal terminal achieved capacity commitments totalling 27Mtpa from eight coal producers which will ultimately see an expansion of the Gladstone port facility by at least 70 Mtpa.

The Wiggins Island Coal Terminal is a $5 billion project that will create up to 800 jobs in construction and 300 ongoing jobs in Gladstone.

The capacity commitments form the basis for WICET to secure funding for the initial terminal development with financial close expected in the first half of 2011 and shipments from 2014.

“The project estimate for the planned three stages of WICET is currently forecast at $5 billion in today's values,” the spokesperson said “Because the terminal is projected to be built in stages over a number of years to match forecast coal export demand, this figure will vary as each stage is fully scoped.”

The eight coal producers that have committed to a total 27 Mt pa capacity are Aquila Resources, Caledon Resources, Cockatoo Coal, Northern Energy Corporation, Wesfarmers Curragh, Yancoal, Xstrata Coal and Bandana Energy.

WICET

The Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal is on the drawing board as a global project of significance to assist coal companies to meet coal demand.

The multi-billion dollar industry-funded terminal will provide about 80 million tonnes per annum in export coal capacity once fully commissioned, effectively doubling existing coal export capacity at the Port of Gladstone.

The new terminal will be built in stages to match forecast coal export demand. Stage 1 is expected to deliver up to 30 million tonnes per year of export capacity.



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