Mount Isa to Tennant Creek rail connection planned

NT Government will contribute $1 million to feasibility studies on linking northwest Queensland mines with the Adelaide to Darwin rail line

Mount Isa to Tennant Creek rail connection planned
Adam Giles eyes Darwin port freight.


The Northern Territory’s (NT’s) 2015 budget has included a million dollars for feasibility studies on a potential new project linking Tennant Creek and Mount Isa by rail.

The link would allow coal and other resources exporters to access the Port of Darwin, by connecting with the existing Adelaide to Darwin rail line.

While this represents a significantly longer journey than the connection between Mount Isa and Townsville, it may still be preferable for some exporters, given the expected congestion at North Queensland bulk terminals and Darwin’s closer proximity to export destinations.

"Budget 2015 invests heavily in infrastructure for the territory’s future and a new 600 kilometre rail project linking these two centres has the potential to provide enormous economic opportunities, particularly in the resources industry," chief minister Adam Giles says.

"Previous investigations indicated a number of mining companies in the Mount Isa area had an interest in shifting their exports of bulk materials through the Port of Darwin, instead of Townsville, if the cost of transport was right."

Giles says the business case will take around two years to complete. If the prospective results are considered positive, he says the Federal Government will be asked to contribute towards the development.

"This would be a long-term project with a price tag in excess of a billion dollars but its benefits would be exponential and I’m keen to explore whether it’s economically viable," Giles says.

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