Rail network provider Aurizon and Indian-based mining company Adani are vying for a government funded loan to develop a new railway for miners in the Galilee Basin, with Aurizon CEO Andrew Harding claiming its line would cost $1 billion less to build.
Speaking to the Melbourne Mining Club on Thursday, Harding highlighted the company’s application for a loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to fund the rail infrastructure for proposed Galilee mines.
“We have a proposal to build a new and expensive railway adjacent to an established network with spare capacity,” he said.
“The Aurizon and proposed Adani corridors are so close that drivers could wave to each as trains crossed.”
A bid was also launched by Adani for a similar rail project.
However, Harding said Aurizon’s rail infrastructure would cost $1 billion less to build compared to Adani’s railway that will run 380km from the Galilee to Abbott Point.
“Aurizon’s proposal would significantly reduce the number of land acquisitions and have less impact on the natural environment and agricultural land,” he said.
Harding also compared Adani’s proposal with the under-used LNG trains in Queensland.
“The Adani proposal would cost more than $1 billion than the Aurizon option of tapping into an installed and efficient infrastructure asset,” he said.
“I can only ponder the parallels with the massive investment in triplicate of LNG trains in Queensland, now under-utilised, and the source of angst for Australian gas consumers.”
Harding also slammed Adani’s decision to seek Australian tax payer funding through the NAIF.
“I’ve got to say that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” he said.
“Should this happen, then incredibly, I might find myself siding with the activists, albeit for entirely different reasons.”