New South Wales government planning to sell Port of Newcastle

Australia’s New South Wales state government announced on Tuesday June 18 that it plans to sell the world’s largest coal port at Newcastle.

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The government intends to offer a 99-year lease of the Port of Newcastle to fund infrastructure projects in the state, Treasurer Mike Baird said in the state budget announcement.

About A$340 million ($323 million) of the total proceeds will go towards the “revitalisation” of Newcastle, the second-largest city in New South Wales. The government plans to replace the heavy rail line between Wickham and Newcastle with light rail.

The port sees mainly exports of thermal coal, but shipments of coking coal also go through it.

Coking coal from Peabody's Wambo project is exported through Newcastle.

Xstrata also plans to export coking coal from its Ravensworth North project through the port. The same goes for Nucoal’s Doyles Creek project, currently under environmental protection review.

The port’s proposed lease is still subject to a scoping study.

The New South Wales government sold 99-year leases for the Port of Botany in Sydney and Port Kembla in Wollongong earlier this year.

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