Miners back WA road upgrade

Push to upgrade road link between Kalgoorlie and the Pilbara and development of an intermodal hub at the WA mining town receives a boost

By Rob McKay | September 13, 2010

The push to upgrade the road link between Kalgoorlie and the Pilbara and the development of an intermodal hub at the Western Australian mining town have received a boost.

Canadian uranium miner Cameco has confirmed it is looking to truck ore from its Kintyre mine east of Newman.

The Kalgoorlie council, the local business community and miners have agitated for a land transport corridor to the north and a transport hub at Parkeston for several years but issues surrounding the transport of uranium is providing added impetus.

It would involve the sealing of the Goldfields Highway between Wiluna and the Great Northern Highway along which proponents believe hundreds of trucks a month could pass as resources projects to the north develop.

Now, Cameco is scouting the route, though a spokeswoman says it is "very early days" for its proposed Kintyre mine.

Despite that, an executive had flown in from Canada to look at the transport issues and get the environmental approval process under way.

The spokeswoman says BHP Billiton (BHPB) is also interested in improving the infrastructure and its needs are likely to be more immediate than Cameco’s.

BHPB has confirmed its interest in the hub concept.

"The potential Parkeston option is in its infancy but would be supported by BHP Billiton if it is developed into a multi-user, multi-product intermodal transport hub which included handling uranium ore concentrate (UOC) consignments," a BHP spokeswoman says.

"BHPB has commenced investigation and assessment of a road-only solution from Yeelirrie to South Australia, which would see UOC transported by road along the outskirts of Kalgoorlie and across the Nullarbor to Adelaide."

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