THE Western Australian Government has granted MidWest Corporation a three-week extension to its permit to haul iron ore by road in order to allow the company to return with evidence of its intent and ability to meet a new deadline for moving product off the road and on to rail.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said that Midwest had given the State Government assurances that it was serious about transferring the haulage of iron ore on to rail.
“The company has already been given three previous deadlines to enable it to make the transfer to rail,” MacTiernan said.
“We have tried to accommodate MidWest Corporation but it appears that some of the previous targets we have set have been regarded by the company as aspirational.
“In view of the fact that every other target that has been given has not been met, we now want solid evidence that they are committed and have an achievable plan for moving on to rail.
“Midwest was given its original approvals on the understanding that the iron ore would be transported on rail. A subsequent unilateral decision to go by road has created this problem.
“We continue to be advised by Main Roads that there are considerable road safety issues associated with long-term road operations.
“However, the poor grain harvest in the region this year creates an opportunity to manage those difficulties. Many local people have also raised considerable concerns over the safety of transporting the iron ore on the roads.
“We have always been committed to facilitating opportunities for junior miners in the Mid-West, but we must get the balance right between their needs and the other needs of the community.
“We are reasonably optimistic that we will get an acceptable resolution to this issue.”
Midwest Corporation Limited