ACCC clears way for collective negotiations by coal producers

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has authorized the RG Tanna Coal Export Terminal Producers Group to collectively negotiate new coal handling and port services agreements with Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC).

Image credit: flickr User: dhamraeco
Image credit: flickr User: dhamraeco

According to the media release by the ACCC, the applicants were granted authorization for 16 years, a time frame the Commission deemed appropriate to provide all involved parties with commercial certainty, due to the current development of the port.

“This arrangement is likely to result in a net public benefit, including the benefits of transactions cost savings and better input into contracts,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

“Importantly, collective negotiations are voluntary and GPC is supportive of the arrangements.”

The Group, which consists of 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., was previously granted an interim authorization to allow it to collectively negotiate with GPC in order to achieve provisional agreements that would only come into effect once the ACCC has granted authorization.

The ACCC authorization provides statutory protection against court action from conduct that might otherwise be characterized as violation of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The ACCC may grant authorization once it determines that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

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