Barry O’Farrell inspects coal-loader


Summary

Barry O’Farrell tours Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group’s coal terminal on Friday. Picture Peter StoopPREMIER Barry O’Farrell said he was proud of the Hunter coal industry’s achievements after a guided tour of Newcastle’s third and newest coal-loader.
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Mr O’Farrell and his Resources and Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, were in the Hunter to open the $2.5billion Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) loader on Kooragang Island.

NCIG chief executive Rob Yeates said a sod-turning ceremony on the 136-hectare site took place less than six years ago.

Since then, the loader had been built in three stages, taking its capacity from 30million tonnes a year to 53milllion tonnes and now to 55million tonnes.

Newcastle’s first two loaders, operated by Port Waratah Coal Services, have a combined capacity of 145million tonnes, giving the port an overall capacity of 211million tonnes a year.

Mr O’Farrell said coal contributed greatly to the state and national economy.

‘‘I say to an industry that exported 143million tonnes through Newcastle last year, keep it up,’’ Mr O’Farrell said.

‘‘‘I want to make the point that at a time when mining in general and coalmining in particular is under the gun, we’ve been exporting coal from this port since 1799.

‘‘I can’t see it stopping in my lifetime, my children’s lifetime or their children’s lifetime. Nor should we want it to stop. It has given us one of the great economic competitive advantages anywhere in the world.’’

Interviewed by Hunter media, Mr O’Farrell acknowledged the environmental costs of mining but said a ‘‘strengthened’’ Environment Protection Authority would help maintain the ‘‘balance’’ between costs and benefits of mining.

‘‘Whether people like the mining industry or not, it supports jobs and pays taxes that help provide the critical services that people enjoy,’’ Mr O’Farrell said.

He said he had faith in the Environment Protection Authority to deal with issues such as the unexpectedly large West Wallsend subsidence and the botched clean-up that followed.

Strong westerly winds buffeted Kooragang yesterday as the premier was shown around by NCIG chairman and former Labor state parliamentarian Michael Egan.

NCIG general manager Paul Beale explained how dust was minimised using computerised water sprays controlled by an ‘‘algorithm’’ that took various factors – including weather conditions and readings from dust monitors – into consideration.


Barry O’Farrell tours Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group’s coal terminal on Friday. Picture Peter StoopPREMIER Barry O’Farrell said he was proud of the Hunter coal industry’s achievements after a guided tour of Newcastle’s third and newest coal-loader.
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Mr O’Farrell and his Resources and Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, were in the Hunter to open the $2.5billion Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) loader on Kooragang Island.

NCIG chief executive Rob Yeates said a sod-turning ceremony on the 136-hectare site took place less than six years ago.

Since then, the loader had been built in three stages, taking its capacity from 30million tonnes a year to 53milllion tonnes and now to 55million tonnes.

Newcastle’s first two loaders, operated by Port Waratah Coal Services, have a combined capacity of 145million tonnes, giving the port an overall capacity of 211million tonnes a year.

Mr O’Farrell said coal contributed greatly to the state and national economy.

‘‘I say to an industry that exported 143million tonnes through Newcastle last year, keep it up,’’ Mr O’Farrell said.

‘‘‘I want to make the point that at a time when mining in general and coalmining in particular is under the gun, we’ve been exporting coal from this port since 1799.

‘‘I can’t see it stopping in my lifetime, my children’s lifetime or their children’s lifetime. Nor should we want it to stop. It has given us one of the great economic competitive advantages anywhere in the world.’’

Interviewed by Hunter media, Mr O’Farrell acknowledged the environmental costs of mining but said a ‘‘strengthened’’ Environment Protection Authority would help maintain the ‘‘balance’’ between costs and benefits of mining.

‘‘Whether people like the mining industry or not, it supports jobs and pays taxes that help provide the critical services that people enjoy,’’ Mr O’Farrell said.

He said he had faith in the Environment Protection Authority to deal with issues such as the unexpectedly large West Wallsend subsidence and the botched clean-up that followed.

Strong westerly winds buffeted Kooragang yesterday as the premier was shown around by NCIG chairman and former Labor state parliamentarian Michael Egan.

NCIG general manager Paul Beale explained how dust was minimised using computerised water sprays controlled by an ‘‘algorithm’’ that took various factors – including weather conditions and readings from dust monitors – into consideration.