The deal struck with the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group will allow Aston to export 7.1 million tonnes of coal from July 2013 until the end of June 2016.
Back in December last year Aston secured 1.7Mtpa of export capacity at the Port of Newcastle from Port Waratah Coal Services, ramping up to 5Mtpa from the development of terminal four, however it was far less capacity than needed.
Aston had been seeking an allocation of 2Mt in 2012, 5Mt in 2013 and 10.5Mt from 2014 onwards.
Aston is aiming for 10.8Mt per annum of production by 2014 from its $A480 million Maules Creek open cut coal mine in the Gunnedah Basin.
Aston chief executive officer Todd Hannigan said the successful negotiation of the agreement was an important milestone for the company as it would allow the majority of the port capacity required by Aston until 2015.
“Aston’s efforts to secure the port capacity required for the Maules Creek project have been successful – we now have the infrastructure capacity required to develop this world-class project,” he said.
Due to the magnitude of the port allocation assigned to Aston, secured financial services provider UBS believed BHP was the third party that sold its allocation.
UBS said BHP had a 35.5% interest in the port which gave it a 19Mtpa allocation at NCIG.
Aston’s Maules Creek project is targeting first coal by mid-2013 and aims to ramp up to 10.5Mtpa of product coal by 2015.