Aurizon and GVK say claims Galilee rail deal has been dumped are rubbish

Despite various reports to the contrary, Aurizon says it is still in talks with GVK Hancock to develop a rail line which will haul coal from the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point coal terminal.

Yesterday the Mackay Conservation Group said the rail company had walked away from an infrastructure plan it signed with GVK last year that would see it build a 300km railway from proposed mines in the Galilee to port.

The group said the deal was off the table after Aurizon failed to produce an Environmental Impact Statement for the project.

However both GVK Hancock and Aurizon have slammed the group for the “misguided and misinformed claims”.

Aurizon told Australian Mining it has not changed its commitment or intent around its plans to enter into a JV with GVK.

“There is no change to Aurizon’s plans to develop rail and port infrastructure to support future mines in the Galilee Basin,” the company said.

Australian Mining understands that because the Queensland government has declared the area over which the rail lines will be built a State Development Area, it meant an EIS was no longer required to be submitted at this stage.

Aurizon said it welcomed this change in process as a positive for the “regulation of development of necessary infrastructure to service this important area”.

A spokesman from GVK also confirmed the company is firmly committed to finalising its JV proposal with Aurizon.

Last year, the two companies signed a draft arrangement which will see the construction of a 300km rail line from the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point, with Aurizon, providing railway logistics and GVK providing financial backing.

The deal means Aurizon will take a 51 per cent share in Hancock Coal Infrastructure, which houses GVK Hancock's rail and port projects.

The open-access infrastructure will service GVK Hancock’s Alpha, Alpha West and Kevin’s Corner coal projects in the Galilee Basin.

“This proposed transaction will provide development certainty for the rail and port projects and de-risks the Alpha Coal Project from a logistics point of view,” the spokesman said.

“The transaction will also provide a pathway for sufficient equity and debt funding for the rail and port projects to reach financial close.”

GVK said it was disappointing to see anti-mining activists attempt to mislead the media, local community and markets.

“This is a valid reminder of how these anti-mining activists’ will say and do anything in order to gain coverage for their ongoing campaign of misinformation.”

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