Tax debacle puts Wiggins job off

THE Wiggins Island Coal Terminal will not meet its July financial target commitments because of the issue over the resource super profits tax and other issues threatening the port’s 2013 start-up date.

The second-stage expansion of the terminal is also under threat from Xstrata’s suspension of work on the $6 billion Wandoan coal project in the Surat Basin.

The Wiggins Island Coal Terminal is a $4 billion project that will create up to 800 jobs in construction and 300 ongoing jobs in Gladstone.

In December, the Bligh government and the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal group (WICET) – which is made up of 17 coalminers and explorers – signed an agreement with a view to having financial commitments from the miners in July.

At the Gladstone Resource Industry conference on Wednesday, WICET commercial general manager Peter Gunn said the project was fairly advanced engineering-wise and the feasibility study has been done.

“People need to understand how the logistics process works between the port, rail, the mine, the types of coal, the land and the size of trains,” Mr Gunn said.

“There are a lot of drivers that actually drive the capacity of the terminal. There’s the conceptual, the reality. One of the issues that we have to deal with is to decide on the capacity and the formal commitments of users looking at what exactly they are going to ship through, including the type of coal.

“The timing may change because there are lots of players and stakeholders; the Surat Basin coal is one of the issues as to whether they want to come online.”

In December, WICET called for expressions of interest from producers as part of plans to build 80 million tonnes of extra annual coal port capacity at Gladstone in three stages.

“We are planning to make a decision to raise finance and that’s a formal decision when the companies in stage one go to the market,” Mr Gunn said.

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