Lyttelton Port of Christchurch

From Global Energy Monitor

Lyttelton Port of Christchurch, which is operated by Lyttelton Port Company, is both a general cargo port as well as being the largest coal export terminal in New Zealand. In the year to the end of June 2011 the company exported 2.1 million tonnes of coal.[1]

Loading map...

Coal Exports

On its website Lyttelton Port Company states that it has been exporting coal since from its stockyard in Te Awaparahi Bay since 1976. "Up to 2.5 million tonnes of coal can pass through our coal stockyard each year."[2] In September 2012 the Lyttelton Port Company entered into a 15 year coal handling agreement with Solid Energy.[3]

The coal terminal caters for coal transported from West Coast mines including from Solid Energy's Stockton mine.[4]

Proposed expansion

A NZ$25 million planned expansion to the port's coal handling facilities was postponed in early 2012 after an earthquake in 2010 shifted focus to post-earthquake rebuilding activities. These works included a ten-hectare reclamation to expand the existing coal stockyard. Since then state-owned coal miner Solid Energy reported a 29% dip in revenue and a net after-tax loss of NZ$181.9 million in 2014, lessening the need for expansion.[5]

2010 earthquake

In its 2010/2011 annual report the Lyttelton Port Company explained that the series of earthquakes had had a major impact on the port facilities. "At the Port, the wharves moved seawards, and the seawalls and landward ends slumped. Piles, beams and tiebacks fractured, and paved container-handling areas suffered extensive damage. At Cashin Quay, the container cranes were jolted off their rails, and berth pockets in-filled. The breakwater at the seaward end slumped. On Z Berth, which was severely impacted, the foundations of the Independent Fisheries coolstore were destroyed. At CityDepot, paving cracked and buildings were structurally damaged. As a result of the massive damage, we face a recovery programme of probably four to five years, or longer."[6]

In late March 2012 the Lyttelton Port Company withdrew an application to expand its coal export terminal due to the need for repair work on existing facilities following the major 2011 earthquakes. In April 2010 the Lyttelton Port Company had applied to the Environment Court for 13 consent applications to reclaim 10 hectares of foreshore to enable it to expand its coal handling operations. The proposed expansion would have allowed exports of approximately 5 million tonnes per year. The Lyttelton Port Company stated that it was "looking at alternative ways within the existing port land to handle future growth".[7][8] The port expansion had been opposed by the NZ Greens and environmental groups.[9]

Despite the delay in the port expansion, Lyttelton Port Company is optimistic that coal volumes exported through the port will continue to expand. "We expect a continuation of this strong performance [a 5.2% increase in coal exports in 2011], with the signing in June 2011 of a cooperation agreement between Solid Energy and Bathurst Resources Ltd to export Bathurst’s Denniston coal through Lyttelton."[10]

Project Details

  • Operator: Lyttelton Port Company
  • Location: Canterbury Region, New Zealand
  • Existing Capacity (Million tonnes per annum): 2.5
  • Additional Proposed Capacity (Million tonnes per annum): 2.5
  • Status: Proposed expansion
  • Projected In Service:
  • Type: Exports
  • Source of Coal: Te Awaparahi Bay, New Zealand
  • Cost of Expansion: NZ$25 million
  • Financing for Expansion:

Contact details


Articles and Resources


  1. Lyttelton Port Company, Lyttelton Port Company Annual Report 2011", September 2011.
  2. Lyttelton Port Company, "Coal", Lyttelton Port Company website, accessed March 2012.
  3. Lyttelton Port Company, Lyttelton Port Company Annual Report 2011", September 2011, page 73.
  4. Solid Energy, "Stockton Opencast Mine", Solid Energy website, accessed March 2012.
  5. "Short term pain," Port Strategy, 29 May 2015
  6. Lyttelton Port Company, Lyttelton Port Company Annual Report 2011", September 2011, page 11.
  7. Lyttelton Port Company, "Withdrawal of Coal yard expansion resource consent application", Media Release, March 27, 2012.
  8. Charley Mann, "Lyttelton Port pulls $25m plan", The Press, March 28, 2012.
  9. Metiria Turei MP, "Lyttleton Port coal expansion proposal submission guide", New Zealand Greens, February 2010.
  10. Lyttelton Port Company, Lyttelton Port Company Annual Report 2011", September 2011, page 20.

Related SourceWatch Resources

External Articles