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Rail freight company, QR National, and iron ore miner, Atlas Iron, are investigating the possibility of an independent, open-access rail line for the Pilbara.
The privately owned nature of the Pilbara's rail assets has been a barrier to new entrants but this proposed line, to run from the East Pilbara to Port Hedland, would allow junior miners much freer access to rail transport.
A feasibility study should be finished this year, and if the line goes ahead QR expects to see ore on the rails by the end of 2015.
Ken Brindsen, managing director of Atlas Iron, says this is an important step forward for iron ore infrastructure in Western Australia.
"The history of the Pilbara is all about the development of your own rail solutions so in the event that Atlas and QR were to build an independent network it would be the first of its kind for the Pilbara," he said.
"A genuine open access network affords independent players (the ability) to continue to develop the Pilbara in a way that it should be, in a relatively unconstrained environment."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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