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Ports Australia’s chief executive Mike Gallacher has welcomed the Australian Government's support for reforms under the Coastal Trading Amendment Bill.

Mr Gallacher said the decision by the government was a clear indication that the issue of coastal shipping was one with momentum and a reform that the country needs.

“Coastal shipping is a smart reform, it will open up our blue highway which costs nothing to build, run or maintain allowing Australia’ supply chain to be more flexible and carry more capacity for less," he said.

“The reforms are a step in the right direction but there is more work to be done before the full benefits of coastal shipping and Australia’s blue highway can be realised for Australians.

“It is our hope that now with the governments support the Senate can look at the merits of this reform for the supply chain and the benefits it will bring for Australians and pass these amendments without delay.” 

The government was spurrred to work with users and stakeholders on the issue after seeing shipping's share of Australian freight fall from about 25 per cent to about 17 per cent between 2004-05 and 2014-15.

At the same time the overall volume of freight across Australia grew by about 55 per cent.

In its response to a Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee report on the issue, the Federal Government noted feedback indicating that the current regulation of coastal shipping creates a range of administrative issues for shipping companies and Australian businesses that use coastal shipping, resulting in a substantial regulatory burden.

The Amendment Bill will:
- remove the five-voyage minimum requirement to apply for a ternporary licence;
- streamline the processes for making changes to temporary licences by creating a single
variation process;
- amend voyage notification requirernents so notifications are only required when voyage details
have changed from those approved on the licence;
- amend the tolerance provisions for temporary licence voyages to better reflect industry
- allow for temporary licences to be issued in emergency situations;
- amend the definition of coastal trading to include voyages commencing and concluding at the
same port;
- allow the coastal trading regime to include ships engaged in dry-docking;
- amend the definition of coastal trading to include voyages between ports and other defined
places in Australian waters such as offshore facilities;
- require temporary licence holders to provide a vessel's Intemational Maritime Organization
(IMO) number to assist with easy identification of vessels; and
- make minor technical amendments to several definitions in the Coastal Trading Act that
require clarification to assist with administration.

Ports Australia welcomes move towards reform

Nacap Australia is well advanced in pouring the concrete foundations for wind turbine generators at the $160 million Kennedy Energy Park at Hughenden.

Nine of the 12 WTG foundations are now in place, using 20,000 tonnes of concrete, 808 tonnes of steel reinforcing and 7500 tonnes of sand. Each foundation will support a 200m high wind turbine.

“Actually laying the foundations for our WTGs is a ground-breaking milestone,” Nacap president Matthew O’Connell said.

“The pouring starts at 3:30am – the coldest time of the day to assist the cement to cure properly. This process takes between 8-10 hours for each foundation.”

Building each foundation involves the excavation of more than 3610 tonnes of earth, the use of 1680 tonnes of concrete and more than 67 tonnes of steel reinforcement.

The project will combine 12 wind turbines, 55,000 solar panels, and 4MW of lithium Ion Tesla battery storage to produce up to 60MW of renewable energy.

The Kennedy Energy Park is being developed by Windlab and its equity partner Eurus Energy Holding Corporation of Japan, with construction jointly managed by Vestas and Quanta.

It is using 12 Vestas V136, 3.6MW turbines at a hub height of 132ms; the largest wind turbines yet to be deployed in Australia.

Thirty-six wind turbine blades, each about 70m long, and other cargo for the project arrived at Townsville this month.

NSS discharged the cargo, working alongside Rex J Andrews Transport. 

“Transporting the wind turbine blades is a complicated logistical feat and we are thrilled to be part of such a momentous occasion for the region,” Port of Townsville acting general manager business development Maria James said.

Energy project taking shape
Pacific Asia Express / Mariana Express Lines is due to start a fortnightly container shipping service calling at the Port of Gladstone from next month.

Gladstone Ports Corporation chief executive officer Peter O'Sullivan said a regular container liner to service the Port of Gladstone had been one of the organisation's key focuses as it worked  to further develop and diversify trade across its three ports.

"We are advised that from next month, Pacific Asia Express / Mariana Express Lines will be commencing a fortnightly service calling at the Port of Gladstone, en route to Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Qindao, China, and with links to other parts of the world," he said.

"The regular container liner service has received a lot of positive interest, particularly within the central Queensland region.

"While GPC handles containers currently through Swires Shipping, this will be an additional liner service to the port." 

 The first arrival from the new service is scheduled to reach Gladstone on July 13.

 Gladstone port attracts new container service
A 550-tonne stacker and a 1700-tonne reclaimer arrived at Weipa this month for the $2.6 billion Amrun bauxite project.

The delivery marked the culmination of a 16-month fabrication effort by Western Australian-based Civmec and a nine-day voyage on a heavy lift vessel.

Rio Tinto Amrun project general manager Marcia Hanrahan said the remoteness of the Amrun site on cape York meant the safest and most efficient approach had been to fabricate the infrastructure into large-scale modules.

“The infrastructure has created employment on both sides of Australia with fabrication and part-commissioning of the modules generating 150 jobs for West Australians and 100 jobs for Queenslanders who will construct and fully commission the units now they have arrived at site,” she said.

“The achievement is another example of our commitment to showcasing best practice Australian manufacturing expertise, delivering local jobs, and providing a boost to the Australian economy.”

As at the first quarter of 2018, the Amrun project directly and indirectly spent more than $2 billion with 1130 Australian suppliers, including 727 Queensland businesses (with 71 Western Cape businesses and 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses among them).

The function of the stacker is to receive bauxite after it is processed and build stockpiles ready to be loaded onto ships. The reclaimer then collects or ‘reclaims’ bauxite from the stockpiles and delivers the product via conveyor to the shiploader which loads bulk carrier vessels.

The Amrun site team is expected to take six months to assemble and commission the machines.

The shiploader is the final piece of infrastructure outstanding for the project and is expected to be shipped from Western Australia mid-year

Production and shipping from the Amrun project are expected to commence in the first half of 2019, ramping up to full production by the end of the year.

Stacker-reclaimer modules shipped to the Cape
Genex Power has secured a term sheet for up to $516 million in concessional finance from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to support its Kidston Stage 2 project in north Queensland.

The company has already commissioned Stage 1 (K1), a 50MW solar project at the former Kidston gold mine.

Stage 2 includes a planned 250MW pumped storage hydro project, combined with up to 270MW further large-scale solar generation, and Stage 3 would add up to 150MW of wind power at the $1 billion Kidston Renewable Energy Hub.

Genex chief executive officer James Harding described securing the NAIF support as a significant milestone in the development of the project.

“We wish to thank NAIF for their strong support and look forward to working with them over the coming months as we move towards achieving financial close in the latter half of the year,” Mr Harding said.

Genex has been advancing an early contractor involvement process with UGL for K2-Solar and with McConnell Dowell/John Holland Joint Venture (JV) for K2-Hydro. The JV has selected ANDRITZ, an international tier-one
supplier in hydraulic power generation, as the preferred electromechanical equipment supplier, including reversible Francis pump-turbines.

The Genex funding represents the most significant investment decision so far from the NAIF.

NAIF chief executive officer Laurie Walker said the finance support would assist Genex to advance its discussions with other project counterparties and to prove up project fundamentals.

“This is a demonstration of how NAIF can work with stakeholders to help them understand how its concessional financing can support the development of a project which has the potential to provide substantial benefits to Northern Australia,” she said.

“NAIF sees the project as important for the transition of the market to lower emission renewable energy sources, and the board’s preparedness to consider a capital commitment of the size referred to in this announcement reflects the alignment of this type of project with NAIF’s objective to contribute to the transformation of Northern Australia through infrastructure development.”

The NAIF term sheet is subject to conditions and terms including:
  • negotiating offtake arrangements and grid connection for energy and dispatch rights to the satisfaction of NAIF;
  • concluding a cost-benefit analysis in accordance with the provisions of the NAIF Investment Mandate, which will be important in determining the level of concessionality that NAIF can offer the project;
  • finalising terms for senior debt funding;
  • securing the balance of equity funding from an acceptable partner;
  • due diligence on a range of project issues;
  • negotiation and execution of project and facility documentation; and
  • final NAIF credit approval and board investment decision.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has provided $8.9 million to support the construction of Genex’s KS1 Project, and up to $9 million in funding to support the development of K2-Solar and K2-Hydro.

The Queensland Government has provided a 20-year revenue support deed for KS1 through the Solar 150 Program and designated the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub as ‘Critical Infrastructure’ to the State.

NAIF backing for $1b NQ energy project
The Lorena gold mine joint venture is investigating pit design modifications to increase the mineable resources.

A preliminary re-design of the pit, based on an updated block model, has shown that a cut-back to the south-east corner of the pit could deliver up to an additional 9000ozs of gold at an average grade of 4-4.5g/t, according to Malachite Resources.

The economics of carrying out the cut back were encouraging, with further work underway to confirm the viability of revising the pit for mining purposes, the company said.

The Lorena gold project, 15km east of Cloncurry, is a joint venture between Malachite (55 per cent), Cloncurry Gold Recovery Management  (30 per cent) and Ore Processing Services (15 per cent).

Commissioning of the project was substantially completed in the March 2018 quarter and the first gold pour was announced in early April.

In May, the decision was made to temporarily suspend mining operations from the pit with the aim of resuming mining activities later in the year,  Malachite said.

This came as sufficient ore had been stockpiled on the ROM pad to provide feed to the processing plant for about six months and while the issue of pit design was determined.

Lorena mine has designs on more gold