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RAIL operators QR National and Asciano today signed new 10-year deals to haul millions of tonnes of coal for Rio Tinto from its Queensland mines.
QR National, Australia's largest rail freight company, said in a statement that its contract leverages its $1.1 billion Goonyella-to-Abbot Point expansion project.
In statements to the Australian Securities Exchange, QR National said it would haul 3 million tonnes per year from Rio Tinto's Blair Athol/Clermont operations, while Asciano will move a combined 8.5mt from the miner's Hail Creek and Kestral mines, all located in Queensland's coal-rich Bowen Basin.
Australia is one of the world's largest exporters of coal, with the Bowen Basin accounting for close to 60 per cent of global supplies of the steelmaking form of the commodity that are transported by sea.
BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Xstrata and others continue to ramp up production of coking coal to feed Chinese steel mills.
Asciano's deal is in addition to existing haulage contracts with Rio Tinto.
The company said in a statement that the new contract starts in November 2013, and will see coal hauled to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal near the central Queensland coastal town of Mackay.
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