Xstrata signs a rail deal in north Queensland

A new 10-year-long transport deal between Queensland Rail, Pacific National and Xstrata will see 160 new jobs created

By Ruza Zivkusic | April 29, 2011

A rail deal with mining giant Xstrata which will see 160 new jobs created in north Queensland has been welcomed by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA).

ARA Chief Executive Officer Bryan Nye has praised the deal struck between Queensland Rail (QR), Pacific National and Xstrata, saying it is well-needed to deliver export dollars.

"If you look at the amount of export we move every year; bulk, iron, ore – that’s where rail really shines and rail does it better than any other mode of transport.

"This is not a competition between road and rail, this is where rail does it best to haul bulk from the mines to the ports."

The 10-year-long deal will see up to 1.2 million tonnes of magnetite concentrate produced per year at Xstrata’s Ernest Henry Mining, which will transported from Cloncurry to the Port of Townsville.

Around 1.34 billion was contributed to the Queensland economy by Xstrata Copper last year.

In a statement, Queensland Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk says the multimillion dollar agreement paves the way for increased efficiency and business growth on the Mount Isa Line, which services the minerals province.

"The magnetite will be moved by longer, more efficient trains, increasing tonnage capacity on the Mount Isa Line," Palaszczuk says.

"The key to increasing the efficiency are Pacific National’s new 1000m bulk mineral trains with up to 90 wagons at 65 net tonne capacity.

"These services can carry more than 1000 tonnes per service compared to the current standard 750m trains.

"These arrangements will pave the way for business growth along the Mount Isa Line and enable the creation of employment opportunities in north Queensland."

QR has invested up to $1 million to upgrade Partington Yard in Stuart to accommodate the 1000m long trains, she adds.

"A facility is required to break up the trains into smaller lengths of 750m or less, allowing for rail access through to the Port of Townsville."

Pacific National Rail Director Chris Keast says the company will introduce a range of new technologies and innovations, such as wired distributive power and ECP braking, to help deliver a safe and reliable rail service.

It has already invested more than $80 million in new rolling stock and infrastructure to support the new rail haulage task.

Xstrata Copper North Queensland Chief Operating Officer Steve de Krujiff says the project plays an important part in increasing the efficiencies of bulk transportation on the western rail corridor.

The announcement follows a $100 million investment program to improve the reliability of the 1030km long Mount Isa Line, which was completed in December.

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