Drop in coal exports anticipated
Dec 23, 2002
Exports of coal through Richards Bay is likely to dip below the budgeted figure of 68 million tonnes because of low prices experienced earlier in 2002, according to reports.
Richards Bay Coal Terminal anticipates handling about 65.8mt of export coal by the end of December and a spokesman is reported to have said that had it been possible for exporters to have achieved the budgeted 68mt they would have done so. However depressed prices saw mining houses such as BHP/Billiton, Anglo American and Xstrata reducing operations.
A decision on whether the planned extensions to the Richards Bay terminal will go ahead is expected early in 2003. Why this decision is taking so long is not clear but it seems that port authorities have not been able to come to finality over lease agreements concerning the rights of small coal producers who are currently excluded from using the RBCT facilities.
The project replaces the long delayed and then cancelled South Dunes Coal Terminal development and aims at increasing the ports capacity from 72mt to 82mt, as well as making the facility available for the first time to smaller coal producers including those from the Black Economic Empowerment initiative.