Excel takes control of Millennium plant

EXCEL Coal has seized responsibility for the construction of its Millennium coal preparation and handling plant (CHPP) after it revealed today construction had fallen three to four months behind schedule and capital costs had increased.
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Excel managing director Tony Haggarty

Angie Tomlinson

Excel said it had restructured its existing contract with Australian Coal Technology for the design and construction of the New South Wales plant.

Millennium will now assume direct responsibility for completing construction of CHPP, with commissioning expected late April or early May.

Excel said an audit of the status of the CHPP contract against budget and schedule would be carried out over the next two weeks, which it expects will confirm that CHPP is running three to four months behind schedule.

“It is also likely that the audit will reveal an increase in the capital cost of the CHPP, arising from a combination of design changes, increases in costs of materials and delays to the construction schedule,” Excel said.

In early November, Excel revealed the plant was eight weeks behind schedule, and that its earnings could take a $A10 million hit for every month coal sales were delayed.

Excel said at the time that the New South Wales plant would have substantial surplus capacity when commissioned, but rail and port constraints would mean the potential to recover any delayed coal sales within financial year 2006 was uncertain.

Roche commenced mining at Millennium in late October and a significant amount of coal will be available when the plant is commissioned.

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