Northern Australia rail project takes important step

 

News article: Northern Australia rail project takes important step

A new rail project crossing the Northern Territory and Queensland border has taken another move forward after the governments agreed to progress the Mount Isa to Tennant Creek railway.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
These are interesting times and quotes in the article around miners expressing interest in a new path to a port other than Townsville. Are there mining transport opportunities west of Mount Isa the proposed SG line would touch?

Northern Australia rail project takes important step

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  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Not sure if just Mt Isa would generate enough traffic.
Though if the Qld government is interested, perhaps there is more to it?  
Im not overly hopeful, especially given the gauge issues....
  NSWGR8022 Deputy Commissioner

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
Queensland are used to dealing with a gauge change in yards in Brisbane so this should not be a deterent. However in this case the idea i think is to connect the customers on Standard and make up the trains ina new yard west of Mount Isa for the journey to Darwin.

The competition issue as I see is between the Port of Darwin and the Port of Townsville for both import and export?
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
These are interesting times and quotes in the article around miners expressing interest in a new path to a port other than Townsville. Are there mining transport opportunities west of Mount Isa the proposed SG line would touch?

Northern Australia rail project takes important step
bevans
Miners love a new rialway so long as they don;t have to pay for it.

That was what the Alice Darwin line was all about wasn't it, opening up the region to mining development?

Peculiar Knob iron ore - GAWN
France Creek Iron ore - GAWN
Muckaty manganese - GAWN
IMX iron ore - GAWN

Only one left is copper out of Prominent Hill
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
It will vary a bit, depending on metal prices etc, but the operations in Mount Isa itself only have about six years or so of life left anyway, and quite a few of the other operations in NW Queensland are in their last decade.
  gmanning1 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney
Are there mining transport opportunities west of Mount Isa the proposed SG line would touch?

Northern Australia rail project takes important step
bevans
I'm not in the railway game, but if the link between Mt Isa and Tennant Creek was to eventuate, how would it pan out?

It's a fairly level run, apart from the first bit, but the Barkly region is known for "Black soil".


Black soil plains cover much of the Barkly Tableland.[4] Rainfall in this inland area is low (350mm pa) and subject to extreme seasonal fluctuations


It's level and straight in the dry season, but I can tell you, when it's water logged, even the cows don't stray much off the Tableland Highway.

But it's been on the agenda since day dot.


It should be stressed that this did not represent a major part of the industry, and that the cattle industry in the north was relatively primitive. Cattle were overlanded long distances to market, and had to be at least 4 to 5 years old to be able to stand the walk. Infrastructure was poor, and losses in drought years were severe. Periodically, recommendations were made that the railways should be extended, at least to the Barkley Tableland, to reduce these losses. In good years, these were forgotten, and the railway was never extended past Mt. Isa.


And the NT politicians always have their finger in the pie, even if only on their web site.

http://www.chiefminister.nt.gov.au/media-releases/nt-and-qld-sign-agreement-progress-mount-isa-tennant-creek-railway

I was living in Tennant Creek when the railway went through, and even attended the "real opening" for the first passenger train which arrived at an odd time of the day, about 2am in the morning if I remember rightly!! It was a big occasion.

However, there was controversy soon afterwards...

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2004-08-09/upgrade-on-track-for-tennant-creek-rail-station/2022150

Anyhow, I'd like to see the missing link done, but would it ever become financially viable?

I'd personally go back for the opening, I wouldn't be sceptical, but is there really money to be made out of this?

The only thing I could see happen, is the closure of the Mt Isa railway east.

Minemakers aims to take advantage of Australia’s political stability and Wonarah’s favourable installed and available infrastructure to develop a major centre for the production of superphosphoric acid (SPA). Wonarah’s advantages, apart from its size and grade, include:


PS: Wonarah minesite has always been on the cards!!
  gmanning1 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney
These are interesting times and quotes in the article around miners expressing interest in a new path to a port other than Townsville. Are there mining transport opportunities west of Mount Isa the proposed SG line would touch?

Northern Australia rail project takes important step
Miners love a new rialway so long as they don;t have to pay for it.

bingley hall
Exactly bingley hall, you're on the wicket!!
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

I'd personally go back for the opening, I wouldn't be sceptical, but is there really money to be made out of this?

The only thing I could see happen, is the closure of the Mt Isa railway east.

Minemakers aims to take advantage of Australia’s political stability and Wonarah’s favourable installed and available infrastructure to develop a major centre for the production of superphosphoric acid (SPA). Wonarah’s advantages, apart from its size and grade, include:


PS: Wonarah minesite has always been on the cards!!
gmanning1
The narrow gauge Mt Isa line won't be going anywhere, a significant amount of the tonnage produced in the Mt Isa region goes to copper and zinc refineries in Townsville - and the State government is heavily invested in the money that line generates for Queensland. Mt Isa is also 600km closer to Townsville than Darwin, so any new line will have to offer some pretty cheap rates to win all the traffic. Large phosphate deposits between Mt Isa and Tennant Creek are likely to be the mainstay mining traffic. There's 400,000-tonnes in general freight crossing the QLD/NT border by road that might be contestable for rail too.

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