SYDNEY, July 28 Australian miners have proposed
helping to fund a A$2.5 billion ($2.4 billion) expansion of
Australia's largest coal-handling port at Newcastle, the
Australian Financial Review said on Monday.
The proposal would double the east coast port's annual
capacity to more than 210 million tonnes by 2013 and is backed
by 14 miners, including BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L), Xstrata
XTA.L and Rio Tinto's (RIO.AX) (RIO.L) Coal & Allied
CNA.AX, the business daily said.
"The proposal ... is aimed at easing chronic bottlenecks
constraining the amount of coal the miners can ship to meet
record demand from electricity generators and steel makers in
Asia," the paper said.
But it added that the New South Wales state government was
concerned that the privately funded project could hamper
competition by discouraging new coal miners from further
developing coal resources in the Hunter Valley, west of the
($1=1.045 Australian Dollar)
(Reporting by Mark Bendeich; editing by Jonathan Standing)