Vale to piggyback on QR National network

Mining Giant Vale is investigating proposals that would allow coal haulage from the Galilee and Bowen Basin mines to piggyback on QR National’s rail network

Vale to piggyback on QR National network
Vale to piggyback on QR National network

By Sean Muir | May 17, 2012

Mining Giant Vale is investigating proposals that would allow coal haulage from the planned Galilee and Bowen Basin mines to piggyback on QR National’s rail network.

QR National announced today it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Vale, the world’s second largest miner, to evaluate proposals for rail infrastructure and coal haulage services
for the proposed Queensland mines.

A QR National Spokesman says QR National proposes Vale use and expand on existing infrastructure to meet expected growth rather than build new rail lines.

"It makes sense in terms of synergies across the supply chains," the Spokesman says.

"Obviously we have got a big established network that has access to the ports, and part of what we have been saying is why don’t we harness that existing network?"

The spokesman says the current capacity of coal ports stretching from Port Kembla in NSW to Bowen in North Queensland is about 425 million tonnes per annum.

He says the new projects will add about 780 million tonnes, bringing the total to more than 1.2 billion tonnes per annum.

"Obviously, these will not all progress along same approval and commissioning path," he says.

"However, it underscores the scale of growth anticipated and the need for supporting rail infrastructure and haulage services."

QR National Strategy and Business Development Executive Vice President Ken Lewsey says QR National can match the planned mine production ramp-ups with rail capacity upgrades.

"Expansions of the existing coal chain offers producers efficient and low cost rail solutionsto support the development of new resources in a competitive global coal market," he says.

"Substantial use of existing rail corridors also minimises the impact on communities and the environment, while leveraging QR National’s established capability in integrated heavy-haul infrastructure and coal haulage services in Queensland."

The new mine and rail development is planned to be completed in line with terminal capacity being developed at Central Queensland ports.

QR National hauls coal from Vale’s Carborough Downs mine near Moranbah to Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, and is progressing environmental and engineering studies for the Central Queensland Integrated Rail Project (CQIRP) which provides for an integrated rail network running from the Galilee Basin in the west to Central Queensland ports in the east.

In January 2012, CQIRP was declared a Project of State Significance by the Queensland Government.

Current capacity on the QR National rail network that feeds ports at Gladstone, Mackay and Bowen in Queensland is about 250 million tonnes.

QR National is delivering a step-change increase in system capacity with more than 70 million tonnes per annum being added from now through to 2015.

More than $2 billion is being invested in two projects: The Goonyella to Abbot Expansion which saw its first trains in December and will be completed in June this year; and the Wiggins Island Rail Project to support a new coal terminal at Gladstone. Preliminary work has commenced and first railings are scheduled for mid-2014.

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