QR National flags possible move to the Pilbara

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QR National has filed a notice with the WA Department of mines for a possible new rail line from mines in the Pilbara to Port Hedland.

According to The Australian QR National would not confirm the notice, but its CEO Lance Hockridge has previously talked about expanding in Western Australia.

Atlas Iron managing director Ken Brinsden told The Australian QR’s proposed track seemed to be "the logical route" for companies interested in using it.

Atlas currently trucks ore to Port Hedland and has previously indicated that to increase iron ore production above 15 million tonnes a year it needs access to a railway.

Flooding in the Queensland coal industry, where QR does the bulk of its business, continues to drag on the company and QR has marked the Pilbara as an attractive opportunity.

The current rail network in the Pilbara, with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue Metals Group closely guarding their rail developments and being largely unwilling to share resources has also opened opportunities for QR.

QR’s proposed development could carry as much as 75 million tonnes of iron ore a year from small to mid-tier companies in the Pilbara.

The company already has a small iron ore business in southwest WA that carriers around 15 million tonnes a year.

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