Plans to revive old rail link project

FEDERAL Treasurer Wayne Swan has announced $A3 million of funding for a final feasibility study of the $550 million Maldon-Dombarton Rail Line project, with the new link to Port Kembla offering benefits to coal exporters.
Plans to revive old rail link project Plans to revive old rail link project Plans to revive old rail link project Plans to revive old rail link project Plans to revive old rail link project

Greg Rowan, senior inspector of mines, Queensland Government Natural
Resources & Mines

Blair Price

Located 72 kilometres south of Sydney in New South Wales’s Illawarra region, the Port Kembla Coal Terminal serves the Southern and Western coalfields.

Last year, rail throughput was estimated at 6.8 million tonnes with 4.9Mt transported via road from three collieries including Illawarra Coal’s Appin operation.

The new line would offer an alternative to the Moss Vale line but construction work on the Maldon-Dombarton line was abandoned in 1988 after five years due to the closure of several coal mines.

The recently-completed prefeasibility report found the previous construction work would allow the project to be fast tracked but it had a negative return on investment, making the project unattractive to private development.

However, the prefeasibility study noted the development could improve Illawarra’s employment rate, creating an estimated 1.2 million hours of work over 39 months of construction.

The study also revealed the addition of the new line could help support PKCT’s expansion plans to lift coal export capacity from the current 12 million tonnes per annum to almost 25Mtpa in 2020.

In the recent NSW budget, Port Kembla received $15.71 million to be spent mostly on the outer harbour expansion project, with the first stage reclaiming 8-10 hectares of land.

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