Partial privatisation studies included in DB restructuring
The Next Federal Election and Passenger and Freight Rail
Transport and Logistics symposium to gauge railway link
Rail gets another CRC. Third time lucky?
Chinese high speed rail should confine the XPT to history
Hendy heads to NR
Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
Mining entrepreneur Andrew Forrest expects the National Competition Council (NCC) to rule within weeks on an application seeking access to BHP Billiton's Pilbara rail lines - providing the bid is not blocked by the iron ore giant.
Mr Forrest said Fortescue Metals Group, which he chairs, had "reluctantly" applied to have BHP Billiton's Mt Newman rail lines in Western Australia's northwest made available to third parties.
He said the decision to go down this path was only made after several attempts to reach agreement with BHP Billiton were unsuccessful, and after taking Queen's council advice that the application would be successful.
"Provided it's not blocked by BHP - that is, BHP doesn't contest the NCC's ability to make a decision, which will be their step one - that (decision) could happen within weeks," Mr Forrest said.
"If they contest it that will have to be removed in court by the NCC and then the NCC can rule."
A BHP Billiton spokesman said the group had received a copy of Fortesue's application to the NCC and was considering its options to defend the action.
BHP Billiton believed a clear precedent had been set by a Federal Court ruling in 1998 against a Robe River Iron Ore Associates application for access to Hamersley Iron's rail network, he said.
"We don't believe that part IIIA of the Trade Practices Act applies to our rail lines," the BHP Billiton spokesman said.
"Previous judgements in the Federal Court have excluded application of Part IIIA of the Trade Practices Act due to particular iron ore lines being part of a production process and therefore not constituting a service to which the act applies."
Fortescue's plan is to loop its proposed rail system into BHP's existing network and create a continuous 500 kilometre loop to remove bottlenecks for access to the Pilbara iron ore fields.
If successful, the move would "create the maximum possible benefits to the state and the nation of that infrastructure artery", Mr Forrest said.
The timing of Fortescue's application coincides with Mr Forrest's return from the United States, where he said he gained further confidence that the capital markets want to see his project go ahead.
"The capital markets have got a strong desire for exposure to ... iron ore and China, and (to see) the release of deposits to the open market - which are badly required by that market - through the provision of infrastructure," Mr Forrest said.
He was confident of sufficient equity and debt support to develop Fortescue's $1.8 billion iron ore mine, rail and port system.
The iron ore industry is booming on the back of surging Chinese demand for steel, which saw benchmark prices lifted by more than 18 per cent in the last round of negotiations.
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2020 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.