The Swiss diversified miner is keen to forge its own solutions to Australian coal chain issues and even plans to build a $1 billion, 35 million tonnes per annum capacity coal export terminal on Queensland’s Balaclava Island, 40km north of Gladstone.
While Asciano subsidiary Pacific National dominates the Hunter haulage market, and Queensland Rail National is keen to increase its market share, the launch of Xstrata Rail signals another new trend for the state’s coal chain.
Xstrata said it will be able to haul 12Mtpa of coal 24-7 and its initial fleet will service all of the company’s Hunter Valley operations.
“Today’s launch sends a very clear message to Xstrata Coal’s customers, joint venture partners, investors, competitors and the New South Wales government, that Xstrata Coal is proactively taking control of its future,” Xstrata said.
“By investing directly into the Hunter Valley coal chain, Xstrata Rail will provide greater security of supply for customers, introduce increased competition into the NSW sector, and demonstrates Xstrata Coal’s continued commitment to the Hunter Valley and its people.
“Xstrata Rail will now provide core logistical services to meet the company’s immediate and increasing need for highly efficient, cost-effective and performance-focused rail haulage services.
“Xstrata Rail is set to commence operations from 2011 and, as you can imagine, has quite the challenge ahead of it.”
Whitehaven Coal spent $35.5 million for its own 5400-tonne coal train last year.