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Access to ports is one of the biggest challenges and expenses mining companies face, but you may be surprised to hear that doesn't necessarily mean they want to work together.
At the moment three mining companies with interests in the Galilee Basin, Hancock Coal, Waratah Coal and Adani, all have submissions with the state government to build individual rail lines (nearly next to each other) from Alpha to Bowen.
As yet none have been approved but it has upset landholders in Central Queensland who potentially can see three rail lines cutting through their properties.
This week we have heard an exploration company, International Coal, has found coal near Charleville, but again there is no rail system nearby. Director David Round says it's looking to build a new rail line from its proposed mine to the coast.
"We took a consortium of Chinese investors and government officials from China out to site to talk about potential development, potential infrastructure, and their potential involvement in something in the short to medium term. "So there are a number of options for us to look at.
"If the mine is a very substantial size, it could potentially fund its own rail line through to the coast." But why is it that mining companies don't like to work together? Mining analyst, Peter Strachen says infrastructure is one of the biggest costs when setting up a mine.
But he says it's a cost most mines are willing to accept because a rail line from mine to port is like a baby's umbilical cord, without a reliable one they wouldn't survive. Mr Strachen also says China's strong demand for thermal coal is making the market more competitive.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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