A mining company in the Pilbara region is investigating how practical an independent railway line, to help transport iron ore to Port Hedland, would be.
Atlas Iron has entered a Memorandum of Understanding with QR National to build the railway for them
Atlas Iron aims to more than triple the output of iron ore from 15 million tonnes per annum to 46 million.
Both companies will research the feasibility of the venture, with results expected to be released by the end of this calendar year, with first haulage marked for as early as 2015.
Under the agreement, Atlas and QR National will share the costs of the study and both will contribute resources as required. Any development proposal would be subject to the approvals of both companies.
The Agreement envisages that Atlas would be a foundation customer of the railway and contemplates Atlas being a junior equity partner in the project.
QR National Executive Vice President Strategy and Business Development, Ken Lewsey said Atlas and QR National have been working informally on the proposal since 2011.
“QR National is delighted to take this work forward to the next step with the signing of this agreement with Atlas Iron,” Mr Lewsey said.
“Atlas is Australia’s most developed iron ore miner that is not hauling on rail. QR National is Australia’s leading provider of heavy-haul rail transport and infrastructure.”