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The company developing a rock phosphate deposit on the Northern Territory's Barkly Tablelands says the region needs a rail connection between Tennant Creek and Mount Isa in north-west Queensland.
Minemakers hope to begin direct shipping of ore from their Wonarah deposit, east of Tennant Creek, in the middle of next year.
The company says it will need a roster of 150 truck drivers to ship the ore at its planned production rates of three million tonnes per year.
Minemakers' managing director Andrew Drummond says the company would consider paying for a rail spur line from Tennant Creek once it begins improving ore grades on site.
"It'll cost us a lot of money, but we will go ahead and do it when it's justified and when we can raise the money, but it is a dead end," he said.
"What would be much better, not only for us but for the Mount Isa district, for the development of Australia, transport, defence, all sorts of things, would be a rail link between Mount Isa and Tennant Creek."
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