Tag Archives: rail infrastructure

Queensland Government pledges A$500 million to boost Mount Isa mineral freight

The Queensland Government has unveiled a A$500 million ($342 million) plan to boost mineral freight exports on the Mount Isa Line.

Freight charges will be discounted, and a new container terminal built at the Port of Townsville to support an already improved five-year line maintenance budget to support north Queensland’s resource industry, the government said.

Announcing the plan at the Port of Townsville this week, Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Jackie Trad, said the investment would promote mining and exploration in the state’s north west.

“Our state’s economy is stronger when we have a reliable supply of minerals for export,” Trad said. “This investment underlines our commitment to backing regional communities and regional jobs. We can improve reliability with better transport infrastructure and that’s what this plan will do.”

Queensland’s North West Mineral Province contains about 75% of the state’s base metal and minerals, including copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold and phosphate deposits, according to Trad, while the Port of Townsville is Australia’s largest exporter of zinc, copper, lead and fertiliser.

“A number of mines are trucking minerals from the north west to the port, and the trains that are carrying minerals in shipping containers have to be unloaded at Stuart and then trucked 12 km to the port,” Trad said.

“Building a new common user rail freight terminal at the port will make the Mount Isa Line more attractive for exporters and take trucks off the Flinders Highway and Townsville’s roads.”

Sarah Dixon, General Manager of Aurizon’s Bulk East business, which trains transport minerals, industrial products and livestock for customers on the Townsville to Mount Isa rail corridor, welcomed the investment in the rail line.

“Aurizon welcomes these initiatives to improve the cost and performance of rail infrastructure which is critical to the economic success of the north west minerals province,” she said.

The Palaszczuk Government, led by Annastacia Palaszczuk, will contribute A$30 million towards the freight terminal’s construction, with the Port of Townsville providing the remaining A$18 million.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said the Palaszczuk Government would also provide A$80 million over four years to reduce rail access charges on the Mount Isa Line, to drive the shift from road to rail.

“The Mount Isa Line is critical for North Queensland’s economy, and making it more efficient and cost competitive is vital to support and grow resources exports in the region,” Bailey said, adding that close to 75% of the freight on the Mount Isa Line was made up of wagons carrying minerals, fertiliser and acid.

“Commercial operators pay access charges to Queensland Rail to use the Mount Isa line and industry has called on the Palaszczuk Government to make rail freight more competitive. We’ve listened and will provide Queensland Rail with A$20 million each year starting, from 1 July this year, to reduce rail access charges and will work with industry on implementation arrangements,” he said.

He added: “The major repairs Queensland Rail carried out on more than 200 sites across 300-km of track following the monsoonal weather event earlier this year have resulted in cutting almost an hour off the travel time between Mount Isa and Townsville, significantly improving efficiency and increasing capacity.

“The Palaszczuk Government is investing A$380 million over five years to maintain and improve the line, making the freight journey faster and more reliable.”

 

NRW wins second Koodaideri iron ore contract from Rio Tinto

NRW Holdings says it has been awarded the Koodaideri Rail Formation South Earthworks contract by Rio Tinto.

The project scope includes the construction of about 73 km of new rail embankment, a new mine access road and associated road works along the Koodaideri rail alignment, NRW said.

The project value is in excess of A$137 million ($92.9 million) and is expected to have a duration of some 70 weeks with site works commencing in August. At its peak, there will be over 300 site-based personnel required for the project, according to NRW.

NRW’s Chief Executive Officer, Jules Pemberton, said: “NRW has a long history of civil construction expertise in the Pilbara and has been involved in the successful delivery of numerous greenfield and brownfield projects for Rio Tinto since 2002.

“Since then, NRW has also constructed more than 900 km of rail formation across the Pilbara providing work for thousands of Australians and supporting local industries, traditional landowners and suppliers.”

He added that the contract follows the recent award of the Koodaideri plant site earthworks agreement where construction has already commenced (pictured).

Construction on Koodaideri Phase 1 started this year with first production expected in late 2021. Once complete, the $2.6 billion mine will have an annual capacity of 43 Mt, underpinning production of the company’s flagship iron ore product, Pilbara Blend.

In addition to mine infrastructure and the accommodation camp, an airport and mine support facilities will be built. Throughout the construction period, Rio expects to employ over 2,000 people with 600 permanent roles created once the mine is operational.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Chris Salisbury, has previously said that the company wants to make Koodaideri the “most technology-enabled and innovative mine in our Pilbara iron ore network”.

Clough to provide key infrastructure at Rio’s Koodaideri iron ore project

Clough, as part as the Acciona Clough joint venture, has been awarded a civil works contract for the construction of the northern rail formation for the Rio Tinto Koodaideri iron ore project, in Western Australia.

Clough CEO and Managing Director, Peter Bennett, said: “We are excited with the opportunity to work with Rio Tinto Iron Ore to deliver its vision for the Koodaideri project as we continue to grow our presence in Western Australia’s iron ore developments.”

Bennett said the execution of the contract would create more than 200 new jobs, with the scope including 100 km of rail formation earthworks, culverts, bridge construction, access roads and level crossings.

“Clough is a proudly Western Australian engineering and construction company with a proven history of delivering world-class projects with outstanding safety and quality results in Australia and overseas,” he added.

The engineering and construction company is celebrating its 100th year of operation.

The Koodaideri project is a greenfield mine development for Rio Tinto Iron Ore, in the East Pilbara mining region. The mine will initially be developed with an annual capacity of 43 Mt. To allow the transportation of iron ore product to either Dampier or Cape Lambert, the project requires a 170 km rail spur to connect the Koodaideri mine to the existing Rio Tinto Iron Ore rail network, just south of Lyre Siding at Numbat.

WorleyParsons is carrying out the EPCM contract for the project, while FLSmidth said this week that it will bring the latest 3D smart design to the development.

The project has been designed to use an increased level of automation and digitisation, helping to deliver a safer and more productive mine, which is expected to be Rio Tinto’s lowest cost contributor to its industry benchmark Pilbara Blend product.