The Time For Pilbara Rail Action Is Now

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14th October 2010, 09:42pm - Views: 790
The Time for Pilbara Rail Action is Now

North West Iron Ore Alliance Chairman Ian Campbell says the Western Australian Government must take direct and urgent action to ensure BHP Billiton (BHPB) and Rio Tinto provide the State's emerging iron ore miners with haulage access to a Pilbara rail solution.

Mr Campbell said this should include taking all necessary steps including legislative amendments to enshrine the rail haulage access rights of the emerging home-grown iron ore companies.

"A defined tonnage of reserved capacity needs to be guaranteed so the majors meet the obligations laid down in the State Agreement Acts."

He said direct intervention is required by government as speculation grows over the collapse of the proposed joint venture between the two large foreign multi-nationals and its replacement by a likely "Plan B" which will effectively allow them to share infrastructure to the exclusion of others.

"Plan B actually looks worse than the joint venture and would be a disaster for the development of the next generation of iron ore companies in the Pilbara," he said.

"It would simply embed a de-facto monopoly which is seeking to assume sovereignty over the entire Pilbara. They simply don't want to allow any room for WA's home-grown companies to have a chance.

"The Premier is on the record as saying third party rail haulage would be assured under the joint venture and we now encourage him to intervene to make sure a defined capacity is reserved for emerging miners," Mr Campbell said.

Independent modeling has shown significant extra capacity already exists on BHPB's Mt Newman line without taking into account their published expansion plans.

"If capacity is not quarantined on the existing lines the WA companies will have to build their own rail networks, which is not only commercially inefficient but will turn the region into a patchwork quilt of criss-crossing rail tracks.

"Enough is enough and it is time for the government to take a stand. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto built their rail networks thanks to decades of generous royalty concessions granted by the State, and subsidised by generations of WA taxpayers.

"Now's the time to repay their debt."

Mr Campbell said the Alliance shareholders were simply calling for "a fair go, not a free ride" and were willing to pay a fair and reasonable price for effective rail haulage arrangements.


Darryl Hockey
Director of External Affairs & Policy
P: (08) 9389 3041
M: 0407 920 911

Ian Campbell
P: (08) 9389 3021
M: 0419 297 811

Background on the North West Iron Ore Alliance

The North West Iron Ore Alliance was formed in 2007 to promote the development of a junior iron ore sector in the Pilbara. The member companies Atlas Iron Ltd, Brockman Resources Ltd and FerrAus Ltd co-operate on issues such as infrastructure development and access, statutory approvals and community development.

Collectively the members of the North West Iron Ore Alliance have the potential to deliver over 55 million tonnes of iron ore per annum by 2013, generating approximately $200 million in new State royalties per annum.

Since its formation in 2007, the Alliance has been actively seeking public policy settings that facilitate the development of a junior iron ore sector in the Pilbara, especially regarding fair and equitable haulage arrangements for rail and port infrastructure.

SOURCE: The North West Iron Ore Alliance

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