Salt mining coming to Alice Springs

 
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Hi all

The ABC is reporting test drilling is underway on a five billion tonne rock salt deposit near Alice Springs that could produce one million tonnes of salt per annum. A processing plant at Alice Springs is planned and presumably rail will play significant role in transporting the processed salt.

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Hi all

The ABC is reporting test drilling is underway on a five billion tonne rock salt deposit near Alice Springs that could produce one million tonnes of salt per annum. A processing plant at Alice Springs is planned and presumably rail will play significant role in transporting the processed salt.
Sulla1

Well that is good news.  Will this be for export?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Well that is good news.  Will this be for export?
"bevans"


Domestic, industrial and export according to the story. Sounds like containers to me, but I haven't checked google to see what other info is out there.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Domestic, industrial and export according to the story. Sounds like containers to me, but I haven't checked google to see what other info is out there.
Sulla1

Does raise an interesting question.  Does salt get moved in containers or in bulk wagons?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Does raise an interesting question.  Does salt get moved in containers or in bulk wagons?
"bevans"

In  Western Australia salt is conveyed in containers for domestic use but previously was also hauled in bulk hoppers in unit trains for export out of Esperance. It would be most likely at around 1 million tonnes it would go in containers eliminating stockpiles and special unloading equipment
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Does raise an interesting question.  Does salt get moved in containers or in bulk wagons?
"bevans"

In  Western Australia salt is conveyed in containers for domestic use but previously was also hauled in bulk hoppers in unit trains for export out of Esperance. It would be most likely at around 1 million tonnes it would go in containers eliminating stockpiles and special unloading equipment
  allambee Chief Train Controller

Well that is good news.  Will this be for export?
bevans
why would anyone consider a salt mine? go over to Queensland and on the coal seam gas projects like QCLNG and APLNG salt is a byproduct of the fracking process and they cannot get rid of the stuff fast enough so its being stockpiled.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Why bother? The easiest way to collect salt is to evaporate sea water. This has been done in various plants in Australia for umpteen years, and is still being done.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Why bother? The easiest way to collect salt is to evaporate sea water. This has been done in various plants in Australia for umpteen years, and is still being done.
"Valvegear"


It might be easier, but try finding undeveloped coastal land in high evaporation locations and then try getting environmental approvals.
  QSB6.7 Chief Train Controller

Location: Going off the rails on a crazy train.
There are two evaporation facilities sitting dormant in Geelong.  The local salt processor shut years ago.
I wonder how big the market really is.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Does raise an interesting question.  Does salt get moved in containers or in bulk wagons?
"bevans"


Believe it or not, 99% of the salt recovered from the Dry Creek Salt Pans just north of Adelaide is actually re-hydrated (yes mixed with water) and pumped via a pipeline to a processing plant at Osborne a few kilometres to the west.
It's mostly processed into chlorine gas!
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
This might be the project: http://www.tellusholdings.com/chandler_project.html  The project details available mention a haul road to the railway line and an associated siding.  Plus, if you've got some stuff (that doesn't glow in the dark) that you want to put into storage... they want to hear from you.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
This might be the project: http://www.tellusholdings.com/chandler_project.html  The project details available mention a haul road to the railway line and an associated siding.  Plus, if you've got some stuff (that doesn't glow in the dark) that you want to put into storage... they want to hear from you.
donttellmywife

the mine is 25kms from the alice to darwin rail line. the mine is expected to be the longest running salt mine in australia so why not build the 25kms branch to the mine site and be done with it. no double handling?
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

I suspect that the decision to go for a haul road rather than a spur line would come down to a combination of an uncertain economic future for Australian exporters, plus the rail industry's high overheads and lack of agility. A 25km spur line built to take mainline axle loads wouldn't come cheap and there would be no chance of GWA footing the bill when there's no guarantee that they would make back their investment on it.

My understanding is that there are two linked mine sites involved with the project, which could also mean a fair portion of the stuff would have to be shifted around by trucks at some point regardless of where it is transferred to rail wagons. If that must happen, you may as well go for the haul road to keep the mine site tightly packaged instead of the layout being dictated by a rail line.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
the mine is 25kms from the alice to darwin rail line. the mine is expected to be the longest running salt mine in australia so why not build the 25kms branch to the mine site and be done with it. no double handling?
JimYarin
The cost of building the main line is shared amongst all its users and the governments.  The cost of building a spur is shared by no-one but the user.  

The volumes handled along that spur are not large.  You could buy a lot of double handling (and more expensive road transport) for the cost of a 25 km spur.

Those two factors alone probably justify the proposed setup alone.  But further - if the cost of double handling and the higher cost of road transport made it worthwhile, you can always decide to build the spur later.  Once you've built the spur, if things don't work out then you cannot generally turn around and ask for your money back.  So there's no need to rush.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

There is an additional issue - the terrain has a few hills and watercourses between the mine and the mainline. A railway would require major earthworks (not an easy task in the desert) to tackle that which trucks on a dirt haul road can easily handle a bit of up, down and around action.

This is the ideal situation to use a multi-modal supply chain where the trucks do what they do best (a short haul on terrain not hospitable to trains) and the trains do what they do best (the long haul sector).

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