The Carrington coal terminal in Newcastle is shipping off its old coal loaders, following their replacement last year by two brand new models.
A giant heavy lifter ship appeared in port this week, charged with removing the final two loaders for scrap.
The move comes as part of a $60 million upgrade to the terminal, and is seen as a signal of industry confidence that Newcastle coal exports have a future stretching decades ahead.
The new coal loaders, which are 700-tonnes apiece, are said to be “much quieter” than the older models, according to operator Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS).
They also have “fully enclosed booms”, meaning any coal falling from a conveyor belt overflow will be contained within the machinery.
PWCS, which has a long-term lease at Carrington, has resisted occasional calls to consolidate its operations at Kooragang Island and insists it has a good relationship with the local community.
Along with the old loaders, Coal & Allied is also departing Carrington. The Rio Tinto-owned miner has put its 36.5% stake in PWCS on the market, as part of a wider selloff of New South Wales coal assets. China’s Yancoal is hoping to scoop them up, in what would be a major coup for its state-owned parent company.