Missing link ball in mining companies� court

IT IS now up to mining companies to progress development of the Northern Missing Link to connect the Goonyella and Newlands coal rail systems, Queensland ministers said on Friday after the State Government announced it had secured land needed for the project.
Missing link ball in mining companies’ court Missing link ball in mining companies’ court Missing link ball in mining companies’ court Missing link ball in mining companies’ court Missing link ball in mining companies’ court

Queensland Rail.

Angie Tomlinson

The State Government reached an agreement with property owners on Friday to acquire the land needed for the 69km link.

Premier Peter Beattie said the ball was now firmly in industry’s court to determine the next step.

"Completing the rail link, in conjunction with a potential expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal to 50 million tonnes per annum capacity, would allow an additional 35 million tonnes per annum to be exported.

"This means Queensland could export at least 70 percent more coal through the Abbot Point terminal in the Bowen Basin, worth up to $4 billion a year."

Deputy Premier Anna Bligh said “mining companies now need to show they're willing to finance the rail infrastructure that will get their coal to the ports".

Bligh said following industry commitment to the corridor, Queensland Rail would commence discussions with mine owners on a staged construction program subject to commercial agreements.

"Now we are at the milestone stage of securing the corridor itself, we are calling on the industry to work with us to plan for the years ahead."

Transport and Main Roads Minister Paul Lucas said he hoped to have the rail corridor in government hands by early 2008.

"Ultimately, the go-ahead for construction will depend on companies contracting with Queensland Rail to use the infrastructure,” he said.

"Normally, projects such as Northern Missing Link would not occur unless the mining companies agreed to fund the study.

"But the government stepped in to fund the study because we weren't prepared to allow any lack of agreement to delay this important project," he said.

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