QR National to build Australian coal rail line

By Freddie Pierce
Australias mining sector was set to take off. Now, there are some figures to throw behind that claim. Eight coal companies recently signed an agreement...

Australia’s mining sector was set to take off. Now, there are some figures to throw behind that claim.

Eight coal companies recently signed an agreement with QR National in Australia to build a $950 million rail line to allow for easier coal shipments between the mines and the export terminal in Gladstone, Queensland.

QR National, also known as Queensland Rail, is a government-owned railway operator in the state of Queensland that handles inner-city and long-distance passenger and freight services. The company was originally founded in 1865, and reported profits of about $4 billion two years ago.

The eight coal companies involved are Xstrata, Aquila Resources, Cockatoo Coal, Bandanna Energy, Northern Energy, Wesfarmers, Yanzhou Coal Mining and Guangdong Rising Asset Management.

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The new rail line will travel between the proposed Wiggins Island coal terminal in the southern Bowen Basin to the port in Gladstone. Construction on the new terminal is scheduled to start in early 2012 and is expected to end in the middle of 2014.

“The Wiggins Island rail project will be one of the largest rail expansions in Australia and represents a significant commitment to the future growth of the Queensland coal industry,” QR National Chief Executive and Managing Director Land Hockridge said in a statement.

QR National will be in charge of building the rail line, which will support the construction of the coal terminal’s first stage. The proposed coal rail line includes an eight-mile loop near the Gladstone port, upgrades to parts of the North Coast Line and other rail lines and duplication of track sections in the Blackwater rail network.

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