ACCC gives Surat coal miners go ahead for rail negotiations

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have given Cockatoo Coal and Stanmore Coal the greenlight for collective negotitations with the Surat Basin Rail joint venture.

These collective negotiations relate to access to the proposed rail system that will open up the Surat Basin to coal miners for the first time, as no real heavy infrastructure exists in the region.

All coal transported from the basin will be hauled to the new Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal currently under construction at the Port of Gladstone.

Both Cockatoo and Stanmore are participating in stage two of the coal terminal's expansion.

According to ACCC chairman Rod Sims this decision allows the miners to secure rail capacity.

"This is likely to facilitate the timely construction of stage two of the Wiggins Island Terminal and avoid any unnecessary delays in coal export growth," Sims said.

QR National signed onto the construct and haul coal over the Wiggins Island rail late last year.

Infrastructure at the coal terminal itself is scheduled for completion by mid 2015.

The authorisation from the ACCC protects the coal miners from court action that may arise due to concerns under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.