Rail trial to keep Queensland junior miners on track

The Queensland Government is funding a $1.8 million trial to reduce costs and increase efficiencies for commercial freight users on the Mount Isa Line rail corridor in a transport boost to junior miners.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the trial would support the state’s new-economy minerals sector.

“This trial is a positive step towards helping our smaller enterprises to make use of our rail infrastructure,” he said.

“It’s so important for Queensland’s strong economic recovery that we make transporting product from pit to port as viable as possible.

“Queensland has rich endowments of new-economy minerals like copper, cobalt and vanadium that are needed to power the global renewable energy revolution, and we want to make sure Queenslanders benefit.”

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick said the freight coordinator service trial, to be undertaken by TransBulk Logistics, will help unlock new investment and more jobs in north west Queensland.

“Queensland’s economic powerhouses of resources and agriculture helped us weather the storm of COVID,” the Treasurer said.

“Major resource companies in the north west are heavy users of the rail line between Mount Isa and Townsville.

“It is a critical link from the North West Minerals Province to the Port of Townsville and export markets beyond.

“However, many smaller mining operators still rely exclusively on road transport.

“We want junior miners and potential new ventures, including in agriculture, to have access to the same efficiencies through freight trains that larger resource companies enjoy.”

Dick said TransBulk Logistics will use its technology and business model to establish a six-month proof-of-concept logistics coordination trial in the North West Minerals Province.

“This would open up the potential for smaller operators to access rail transport by combining movements, reducing costs and making rail a more cost effective and attractive option,” he said.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said higher utilisation rates should then reduce the costs for all users.

Queensland Government support for this project will complement the Mount Isa Line Incentive Scheme, part of an $80 million Queensland Government commitment over four years to incentivise more freight on rail on the Mount Isa line and encourage a shift from road to rail.

The objective of the scheme is to make rail freight more competitive, with the intention to provide operational and financial benefit to the customers of rail services.

These customers include existing mining operators; however, the scheme is open to new freight, including mining and intermodal services.

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