PERTH (miningweekly.com) − The construction of the Stage 1 development of the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) would start in Queensland, after the company finalised its financing package and tenure arrangments.
Eight coal producers would own the terminal, which would be operated by the Gladstone Ports Corporation.
“Reaching financial close and finalising tenure arrangements are the final milestones for on-site construction to progress and make WICET a reality,” said WICET project director Mark West.
The A$2.5-billion construction costs for the 27-million-ton-a-year infrastructure project would be privately funded by domestic and international banks and investors, through a financing package of senior debt and subordinated debt arrangements by WICET’s financial adviser.
WICET has also been granted tenure by freight operator QR National, the Gladstone Ports Corporation and the Queensland government.
QR National has also agreed with the Stage 1 owners to construct a A$900-million Wiggins Island rail project to support the tonnage, and the rail developments would be aligned with the construction schedule for the terminal.
The terminal design was currently being finalised and contractor WorleyParsons has already started site preparation and initial construction.
The construction of the Calliope worker accommodation village was also well advanced with the first 240 rooms almost complete and a further 400 rooms expected in early 2012.
A feasibility study for the expansion of the terminal was expected to be completed by the end of this year, WICET said.
Expressions of interest were received for the expansion in July last year, from 22 coal producers for more than 176-million tons a year of export capacity. Once completed, the WICET was expected to provide more than 80-million tons a year of additional coal export capacity through the Port of Gladstone.
The eight Stage 1 owners, including among others Xstrata Coal, Aquila Resources, Northern Energy and Bandanna Energy, have all executed take or pay arrangements with WICET and first coal shipments are now expected from mid-2014.