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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the state government’s approval of a new multi-user rail load-out facility that will service mining projects in the state’s north west.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said on Wednesday that the government would be actively working with the facility’s three joint venture (JV) partners, Xstrata Copper, MMG and Cudeco, to deliver the rail load-out facility for the region.
The rail load-out facility will be fully funded by the JV partners, and it was anticipated that it would take between 18 and 24 months to complete the approvals process, construct and commission the facility, with the facility to be operational by mid 2014.
“This outcome brings a resolution to more than 18 months of uncertainty on this project and will centralise the load-out requirements of three major mining operations into one location, outside Cloncurry,” Cripps said.
“Once all projects are operating, the facility will handle around 2.2-million tons a year of mineral concentrate for export, and will reduce the number of train movements and rail load-out activities that currently operate within the Cloncurry township.”â€¨â€¨
Xstrata Copper COO Steve de Kruijff said the facility will support the company’s recent A$589-million investment to extend the life of its Ernest Henry mine to 2024.
“We will use this facility to transport copper concentrate and magnetite concentrate from Ernest Henry mine. This will be a state of the art facility with improved environmental controls to limit impacts in the area.”
De Kruijff said that the facility would also reduce the number of train movements and rail load-out activities that currently operate within the Cloncurry township, as it will be located around 10 km east of Cloncurry.
“We’ll be working closely with our mining counterparts and with local key stakeholders to develop this facility in a way that supports both current operations and future development in the region.”
QRC CEO Michael Roche said that the new rail facility would boost mineral exports, and demonstrated that the newly elected Campbell Newman government was not afraid to make decisions that would benefit the state's economy.
“The facility, to be operational by mid-2014, will not only provide efficiencies, but will enable increased tonnages of ore to be transported, while reducing the number of train movements affecting the local community,” Roche said.
This article first appeared on www.miningweekly.com
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