Holy Wiggins

THE Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal consortium has finally secured industry commitments to build an initial 27 million tonnes per annum of capacity with first shipments in 2014, after Bandanna Energy hopped on for a 4Mtpa allocation.
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TKL's 100/65 Titan slurry dewatering pump is capable of 140m total head per stage and is designed for two pole direct drive.

Blair Price

The consortium also unveiled a capital expenditure estimate of $A5 billion for the entire three-stage development of the terminal.

The capex costs were previously thought to be $4 billion, but a WICET spokesman told ILN this figure came from a Queensland government estimate made back in December 2009.

Bandanna expects its share of development costs to be $5.9 million and provided a bid bond of $3.07 million to back up its deed agreement with the consortium.

Six Queensland coal producers and two explorers made capacity commitments for the first stage of the terminal development, with the financial close scheduled for the end of April.

Engineering major Worley Parsons has been appointed to provide procurement, construction and management services for stage one development and is expected to make its own final approval of the PCM contract early next year.

ANZ banking group was appointed as financial advisor to secure the stage one funding.

WICET said expressions of interest from coal producers for additional capacity from 2015 or 2016 through an expansion of the terminal closed at the end of August.

“Reaching these milestones demonstrates that an industry-funded terminal offers real benefits for coal producers,” WICET project director Mark West said.

“It brings the terminal a step closer to reality and gives us momentum to secure funding and commence construction.”

The WICET project has suffered from various setbacks, with the global financial crisis putting it under review.

The terminal project once targeted 25 million tonnes per annum of throughput with completion expected in 2013 – pushed back from a previous late 2012 deadline.

The stage one owners of WICET include Xstrata Coal, Wesfarmers, Yancoal, Aquila Resources, Caledon Resources, Cockatoo Coal, Northern Energy and Bandanna.

Other members of the consortium, such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Macarthur Coal, are not stage one owners, but had the opportunity to take part in the recent expressions of interest phase that closed about a month ago.

WICET cannot reveal which parties made EOIs because of confidentiality, while further negotiations will determine how much capacity the terminal will be expanded to under stage two development.

Xstrata’s Wandoan project in Queensland’s Surat Basin is a project of state significance, and received priority rights under the Wiggins Island Terminal Access Policy to receive up to 22Mtpa of capacity from the new terminal.

Wesfarmers’ Curragh mine also holds priority rights under the WITAP for 1.5Mtpa of capacity.

Northern Energy signed on to 500,000tpa of capacity under stage one to cater to the tonnages expected from its planned Colton hard coking coal mine within its Maryborough project, which is due to start production in 2012.

“While the Colton mine is planning to commence shipments through the Barney Point terminal prior to the construction of Wiggins Island, the inclusion of the project in Stage 1 provides for the transition from Barney Point to Wiggins Island,” Northern managing director Keith Barker said.

With stage one of the terminal moving to the funding stage, Barker said this provides further confidence for the development of the company’s Elimatta mine near Wandoan, which is seeking access to the second stage of Wiggin Island.

“The Elimatta project has expressed an interest for 5Mtpa capacity from the second stage of WICET, with the development of the proposed Surat Basin Rail being planned in parallel with WICET stage 2,” he said.

Aquila signed on to 1.6Mtpa of capacity under the first stage of the terminal’s development to cater to its forthcoming Washpool open cut mine.

“Aquila is continuing to negotiate for capacity for both above rail and below rail services with the expectation of this capacity being available in line with the completion of Stage 1 of the WICET Terminal,” the company said.

“Securing port and rail capacity is essential for the successful development of Australian coal projects and the wholly owned Washpool hard coking coal project.”

The definitive feasibility study for Aquila’s Washpool project, immediately west of the Curragh mine, is due for completion in the September quarter of 2011.

The mine will produce 4Mtpa of raw coal for the production of 1.6Mtpa of hard coking coal over a mine life of 25 years, with Aquila noting this project is on track to be the company’s second producing coal mine.