NEW plans are in the pipeline for the Pilbara’s rail network after the WA Government and Atlas Iron announced plans to become involved, in two separate deals.
Rail transport company Aurizon is drafting a state agreement with the government to create a fourth iron ore rail network in the Pilbara which could cost more than $4 billion, a close source told The West Australian.
Aurizon was expected to reveal the second stage of its study by the end of June, examining how the rail line would link to North West Infrastructure’s port space at South West Creek.
Atlas Iron was originally close to the project but has since become quiet on negotiations and is now reportedly looking for an alternative path to transport ore. According to The West Australian, Atlas is negotiating a deal with Fortescue Metals Group to access its Pilbara Infrastructure rail network which could cost up to $500 million.
The proposed plan was believed to include capital spending and prepayments for haulage.
Fortescue rejected Brockman Mining’s attempt to access the rail lines, as the company’s application to WA’s Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) to move 20 million tonnes of ore per year could “preclude other entities from access to that infrastructure”.
The ERA has launched a new public consultation process. Fortescue announced last month it would sell a stake of about 40 per cent in its rail and port assets to pay off a $10 billion debt.