Australia’s mining exports are growing to record levels but the capacity of ports to ship them appears to be running out.
A Deloitte report said the surge in export volumes is putting a strain on the current port and railway facilities.
“The looming increase still begs the question of whether Australia’s stock of export infrastructure will be sufficient to support very large increases in mineral and energy exports,” the report said.
Deloitte said that additional coal and iron ore projects already underway are expected to add 140 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) in production capacity but that won’t be matched by the capacity of ports to ship higher volumes.
Coal and iron ore port capacity is expected to only increase by 110 Mtpa.
“That suggests that a number of projects in the planning phase will need to go ahead to prevent bottlenecks occurring,” Deloitte said.
Deloitte also said the continue growth of Australia’s mining export boom will depend on Chinese demand for coal and iron ore.
“Australian iron ore exports to China have grown sharply over the last decade,” the report said.
“In value terms, total exports of iron ore and concentrates to China over 2013/14 was around $57 billion, equivalent to over 76 per cent of total Australian iron ore exports and 20 per cent of total merchandise exports for the year.”