Coal producers granted interim authorisation for collective negotiations

6 February 2014

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted interim authorisation for the RG Tanna Coal Export Terminal Producers (the applicants) to collectively negotiate with Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC).

The applicants wish to negotiate collectively with GPC in relation to the terms and conditions of new coal handling and port services agreements at Gladstone Port in Queensland.

The RG Tanna Coal Export Terminal Producers are Anglo American Australia Limited, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, Cockatoo Coal Limited, Glencore Coal Investments Australia Pty Limited, Idemitsu Australia Resources Pty Ltd, Jellinbah Resources Pty Ltd, Rio Tinto Coal Australia Pty Ltd, Sojitz Coal Mining Pty Ltd, Wesfarmers Resources Ltd and Yancoal Australia Ltd.

“The applicants requested interim authorisation on the basis that GPC has commenced the negotiation process for the new coal handling and port services agreements,” ACCC Commissioner Dr Jill Walker said.

“In granting interim authorisation, the ACCC considers that there is benefit in allowing the parties to begin to jointly negotiate to ensure there are no unnecessary delays in putting in place appropriate arrangements in respect of the terminals and the channel infrastructure, particularly given that new users of the port would like to commence shipping soon.”

Interim authorisation allows the applicants to immediately commence collective negotiations with GPC, while the ACCC assesses the substantive application for authorisation. Interim authorisation does not extend to the making of, or giving effect to, any agreements.

Interim authorisation commences immediately and will remain in place until the date that the ACCC's final determination comes into effect or is revoked.

The granting of interim authorisation in no way binds the ACCC in its consideration of the substantive application for authorisation.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

Interim authorisation allows the parties to engage in the conduct prior to the ACCC considering the substantive merits of the application.

Release number: 
NR 015/14
ACCC Infocentre: 

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