PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted the New South Wales Minerals Council and ten coal producers in the region interim authorisation to negotiate with Port of Newcastle Operations (PNO) on terms and conditions of access to the port for coal exports, including prices.
The ten coal producers that export coal through the Port of Newcastle include Glencore Coal, Yancoal Australia, Peabody Energy, Centennial Coal, Whitehaven Coal and MACH Energy Australia.
The interim authorisation does not allow the producers to enter into collectively negotiated agreements with PNO, or allow them to share individual coal projection volumes, customer pricing information or marketing strategies.
PNO is currently negotiating with individual coal producers over a proposed ten-year deed for access to the port.
The ACCC said on Thursday that allowing coal producers to collectively negotiate would give producers an opportunity to reduce ongoing uncertainty and achieve more timely outcomes.
“We have granted this interim authorisation because coal vessels will soon be facing higher port service charges if coal producers don’t execute a deed with the Port of Newcastle,” ACCC commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.
“Because participation is voluntary we do not believe this authorisation will impact competition between the producers. Individual coal producers are still free to negotiate separately if they believe they can get a better deal,” Ridgeway said.
“PNO is also free to decide whether or not to negotiate with the coal producers collectively.”
A draft determination is anticipated for May or June 2020 and a final determination will be made in July or August 2020.