QR National clinches Qld Vale agreement

QR NATIONAL is seeking to protect its dominance in the Queensland freight market by securing a pre-emptive agreement with Brazilian giant Vale to evaluate rail and infrastructure proposals for its planned mines in the Galilee and Bowen basins before rival rail corridors by Clive Palmer and Indian group GVK are considered.

Lou Caruana
QR National clinches Qld Vale agreement

QRN is keen to shore up support for its proposed 900km corridor to the Queensland ports after it fell out with Palmer in January over the preferred infrastructure provider for his China First project in the Galilee Basin.

The Queensland government stipulated there should be only one corridor and declared QRN’s proposed Central Queensland Integrated Rail project a “project of state significance", a move which prompted Palmer to announce he would sue QRN for $8.5 billion.

The new LNP state government last week released draft terms of reference for an environmental impact statement for the CQIRP.

QR National currently hauls coal from Vale’s Carborough Downs mine near Moranbah to Dalrymple Bay coal terminal but its new memorandum of understanding with Vale will evaluate and scope integrated rail proposals for rail infrastructure and coal haulage services from new mines proposed by Vale in the Galilee and Bowen basins.

Preliminary commercial discussions will be progressed under the MoU on the identification of opportunities to optimise the design, configuration and operations of the coal supply chain.

The mine and rail development timelines are aligned to match the creation of terminal capacity currently being developed at Central Queensland ports.

QRN strategy and business development executive vice-president Ken Lewsey said by leveraging the expandability of the existing rail network, Vale and QR National could efficiently match rail capacity upgrades with planned mine production ramp-ups.

“Expansions of the existing coal chain offers producers efficient and low-cost rail solutions to support the development of new resources in a competitive global coal market,” he said.

“Substantial use of existing rail corridors also minimises the impact on communities and the environment, while leveraging QR National’s established capability in integrated heavy-haul infrastructure and coal haulage services in Queensland.

“We are committed to growth in Queensland and we see our collaboration with Vale as an exciting growth opportunity for both companies in the Galilee and Bowen basins.”

QRN is progressing environmental and engineering studies for the CQIRP which provides for an integrated rail network running from the Galilee Basin in the west to Central Queensland ports in the east.

Nationally, QRN is also seeking to expand its footprint beyond Queensland.

QRN is evaluating an independent, multi-party railway to connect iron ore mines in the east Pilbara to Port Hedland and has unveiled plans to expand its footprint in the coal hub of the New South Wales Hunter Valley region by building a $100 million train support facility near Newcastle port.

QR National has had a foothold in the Hunter Valley region since 2005 and has since secured about 30% of the rail coal market in the region.


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