MidWest Rail Update

 
  dw54 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Devonport, Tas
Are Midwest Corp (Sinosteel) ever going to use rail?
How many of their wagons are still stored at Narngulu?
"Jarroo"


Looked at their website today. Their "news" is that they'll be road hauling from Koolanooka to Geraldton; after having a nearby intersection rebuilt.

Quote from their website:
>>

Koolanooka / Blue Hills Hematite Project
Road Haulage

Sinosteel Midwest is planning to re-commence mining and road-haulage operations from our Koolanooka mine, near Morawa, within the next few months. To enable this, we have reached agreement with Main Roads WA and the Morawa Shire on a substantial modification and upgrade to the Wubin-Mullewa / Mingenew-Yalgoo intersection.


Sinosteel Midwest believes that the upgrade will be a significant improvement to the road amenity of the Morawa Shire. Importantly, the intersection has been designed with road safety as the uppermost priority. The intersection will also remain as another improvement after the Sinosteel Midwest projects that it services have been completed, as a legacy for the people of Morawa and the Mid West.

and from the attached info:

Sinosteel Midwest’s Koolanooka/Blue Hills Project is currently working through the environmental approvals process. Subject to obtaining all necessary Government approvals, the company is aiming to commence operations by late November 2009, and is planning to transport ore via road to Geraldton Port, through the Southern Transport Corridor (see Figure 1).
The decision to transport ore from this project via road haulage is the result of more than five years of consultation with various State Government departments, local shires and suppliers.
The company has thoroughly investigated the option of transporting ore from Koolanooka via rail, however after considerable investment in time and money, it has become evident that rail is not a viable solution. The current rail system does not have the capacity to transport the estimated output of ore, and is not cost competitive because of the double handling required.



Doesn't auger well for rail, so far.  Crying or Very sad

David

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  djukinX1016 Deputy Commissioner

After 3 years Gindalbie Metals have finally got their state environmental approval, next is the federal approval, then they may get started.

Seeing the comment on Sinosteel Midwest, they are also waiting on final environmental approval.

The process is not easy and you really have to want to get to the end game and hope your financial backers will hang in for the whole approval process.

Take a look at the timelines:
http://www.sinosteelmidwest.com.au/env-environmental-approvals.php

Hence the reason there has been all the commenting for so long on what may happen, once the "final" approval is given there are then stacks of compliance reporting and various management plans to be prepared and approved.
  wn514 Chief Commissioner

Location: at a skyhooks concert living in the 70's
Are Midwest Corp (Sinosteel) ever going to use rail?
How many of their wagons are still stored at Narngulu?
"Jarroo"


Looked at their website today. Their "news" is that they'll be road hauling from Koolanooka to Geraldton; after having a nearby intersection rebuilt.

Quote from their website:
>>

Koolanooka / Blue Hills Hematite Project
Road Haulage

Sinosteel Midwest is planning to re-commence mining and road-haulage operations from our Koolanooka mine, near Morawa, within the next few months. To enable this, we have reached agreement with Main Roads WA and the Morawa Shire on a substantial modification and upgrade to the Wubin-Mullewa / Mingenew-Yalgoo intersection.


Sinosteel Midwest believes that the upgrade will be a significant improvement to the road amenity of the Morawa Shire. Importantly, the intersection has been designed with road safety as the uppermost priority. The intersection will also remain as another improvement after the Sinosteel Midwest projects that it services have been completed, as a legacy for the people of Morawa and the Mid West.

and from the attached info:

Sinosteel Midwest’s Koolanooka/Blue Hills Project is currently working through the environmental approvals process. Subject to obtaining all necessary Government approvals, the company is aiming to commence operations by late November 2009, and is planning to transport ore via road to Geraldton Port, through the Southern Transport Corridor (see Figure 1).
The decision to transport ore from this project via road haulage is the result of more than five years of consultation with various State Government departments, local shires and suppliers.
The company has thoroughly investigated the option of transporting ore from Koolanooka via rail, however after considerable investment in time and money, it has become evident that rail is not a viable solution. The current rail system does not have the capacity to transport the estimated output of ore, and is not cost competitive because of the double handling required.



Doesn't auger well for rail, so far.  Crying or Very sad

David
"dw54"
any chance the state government will step in and force them to use rail as the previous state government did.
  Northmetro Junior Train Controller

It will be inherently more difficult to get on rail in the midwest, at least in the early days. There is an existing infrastructure owner with limited current capacity and probably at the present time averse to "speculative" expansion and a future infrastructure owner that has yet to build their railway. The company needs to get their product to market, both for cash flow of their own business and to provide raw material supply to their Chinese shareholder.

What other option do they have in the short term? And having taken that option, of course, they have a heavy investment in road so it will be more difficult to change.

The best hope is that this is really successful, they discover more deposits and the volume becomes too large to move by road. Once you get to the volume of the smaller Pilbara operators such as FMG then rail really is the only option.

Even then though, the simple fact that there is a producer, a rail infrastructure company and a train operator that will need to negotiate a deal that is profitable for all of them, it won't be as easy as the big miners who build and operate their own network.
  Operater Junior Train Controller

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Hi There,                    Sept 27th, 09,  19:30 Hrs, M.D.T.  

              As Western Australia Will B Enjoying a Mining Boom of
        Sorts for Iron Ore and Other Minerals, I Will B Most Interested
        Just How Many Railroads Do Get Built.
               I Will Also Assume Within Reason That a Lot of These
        Companies Will B Looking at the Examples of Rio Tinto and B.H.P.
        to Name a Few and Use Some Of Their Examples in Building a
        Railroad to Get the Most Out Their Operations.
                 If Such is the Case, I Will Also Assume Within Reasons
        That These Lines Will B Built to "Standard Guage". For These
        Mining Companies as They Build Further East From the New Port
        North of Geraldton Will B Looking at Things Such as Common
        Ore Cars to Save on Some Costs and High Horse Power Diesels
        Similar to B.H.P etc. If Running Trains of 1500 Metres or Longer
        Become the Rule, Rather Then the Exceptions, Standard Guage Rail,
        Uniformalty of Rail Cars, and Motive Power, Will Have to Play a
        Big Part of the Equation - Like It or Not.
                    Its My Own Views That as Mining Starts to Play a Bigger
        Role in the Economy of Western Australia and Australia in the
        Bigger Picture of Things. The Stark Reality is That Various Rail
        Lines Will Have to B "Standardised' (SG)  so That Supplies for
        all These Projects Can Get From Eastern Australia Out to the
        Western Half of the Country. in a Timely Manner.
                    It Won't Surprise Me at All That If There Are Iron Ore
        Deposits on the Western Half of the State, There is Also Very
        Good Chances of Mineral Deposits in the Eastern Half of the
        State That Can B Developed as Well and Hooked Up Into the
        Rail Lines That Go North to Port Hedland or Up to the Line to
        Darwin,and Into a Connection Such as Places Like Kalgoolie
        Just to Name a Few.
                    Sound Far Fetched? Something of a Joke of Sorts? Well
        Maybe to Some With the Remarks I've Seen on Other Boards
        in Reguards to the Remarks I've Read, When It Comes to Mining
        and Rail Expansions. True Not All Projects Might Get Built But
        Blunt Reality is That Australia Will B a "Resource Rich Super
        Power" Within the Next Few Years or a Lot Sooner Then Most
        People Realize, If Not a Super Power Already.
                    What Doesn't get Talked About is That the Federal
        Govmnt Knows It, So Do the Mining Companies, Weather Its
        Iron Ore, Coal, Basic Metals or Any Other Minerals for That
        Matter.  Its My View That Weather the State Govmnts Like it or
        Not, A Standardized Guage System for the Whole Country,
        Built or Existing Lines Standardized Will Be the Requiremnents
        and Petty Bickering and Using Raillines for Sellfish Political
        Interests and Not For the Good of the Country as a Whole
        Won't Do Because Mining Interests, Shippers, Countries Doing
        Buisness in the Country Won't Want Tolerate the Stupidity
        of Not Having a Unified Rail System. and the Federal Govmnt
        is Well Aware of That Stark Reallity. Something Others Don't Get.
                  Get Trucks Off The Roads, Try a Uniform Rail System
        That Gets Trailers, Containers, Monerals of Any Type and
        Goods From 1 Part of the Country to the Other and Makes
        Good Use of Ports, Roads, the Enviroment and Other Assets.
                  Welcome to the 21st Century of Railroads in Australia.
  Wallip Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth
I thought there was a Geraldton related thread somewhere, but I can not seem to find it, so I will use this one.

Just wondering what the traffic volumes between Christmas and New years might be like? I have time off, and wouldnt mind heading north, btu if they are going to ramp down services for this period, then I might wait a while to take the trip.
  P2017 Chief Commissioner

Location: Geraldton
Last Christmas they were working.
It also depends on the Shed being full and when the next MGI ship comes in too.

Cheers

P2017
  djukinX1016 Deputy Commissioner

Hi all
Gindalbie finally got their last approval today:
http://www.gindalbie.com.au/

Look on their webpage for the latest ASX announcement.

According to the release work starts next week in earnest, I know that the contract for concrete sleepers has already been let as have around $2-300 million on other lead items. They expect to have 500 workers on site by Jan 2010 rising to over a thousand by June 2010. Project scope also seems to be changing with vastly increased tonnages now being targeted.

Tonnages appear to be 3 million tonnes by start of 2011 and 8 million tonnes by years end with a design capacity in this stage of 16 million tonnes per year from a resource of over 2 billion tonnes so a few years supply there.
  djukinX1016 Deputy Commissioner

For those interested, SinoSteel Midwest's Road haulage info paper is now on their webpage, look at item 1 it will link to an info paper:
http://www.midwestcorp.com.au/road-haulage.php

An advert in the local paper today says haulage by road will actually commence today. Not a good outcome for rail but as the paper says the current rail did not have the capacity and is not competitive.
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

The decision by Midwest to go for road haulage was that they wouldn't pay for any upgrade to the rail system to handle the tonnage they wanted to put into it, and they are only interested when the OPR system comes online through to Oakajee. The fact that all they offered was the upgrade of one intersection along the whole route is simply mind boggling, as the Mullewa Road is crap already.

OPR rail route has been basically laid out, with final work happening on the preliminary design of the NG tie in with the existing line west of Mullewa (around 5km west). The main SG line will then veer NE towards the Jack Hills/Weld Range area, not heading via Meekatharra as hoped for to avoid issues with the Square Kilometre Array planned for the area.

OPR is also planning routes to the south east of Mullewa, and Midwest is waiting to see what their options are once the routes are finalised. Then rail haulage is supposed to be back on the table, but not until then.
  djukinX1016 Deputy Commissioner

The decision by Midwest to go for road haulage was that they wouldn't pay for any upgrade to the rail system to handle the tonnage they wanted to put into it, and they are only interested when the OPR system comes online through to Oakajee. The fact that all they offered was the upgrade of one intersection along the whole route is simply mind boggling, as the Mullewa Road is crap already.

OPR rail route has been basically laid out, with final work happening on the preliminary design of the NG tie in with the existing line west of Mullewa (around 5km west). The main SG line will then veer NE towards the Jack Hills/Weld Range area, not heading via Meekatharra as hoped for to avoid issues with the Square Kilometre Array planned for the area.

OPR is also planning routes to the south east of Mullewa, and Midwest is waiting to see what their options are once the routes are finalised. Then rail haulage is supposed to be back on the table, but not until then.
"Bulbous"


Thats my understanding that they had been requested to pay a rail upgrade charge for 1 million tonnes per year plus pay the normal haulage costs on top, then a proportional cost upgrade to the rail unloader. But in this privatised world each seperate entity wants their cut independently of each other and then seem surprised when "the customer" (that is what they are) walks away and chooses the cheaper option but greater employment generator.

Then factor in the local community desperate to see more work generated in their area, a community frustrated for several years by the bureaucratic approval processes run from the nice comfy Perth offices whose workers use subsidised public transport when you cannot even get basic services, no wonder there is local community support for the trucking operations and the miner.
  Tiny Train Controller

Location: Kalgoorlie
Doing some rough calculations, on two trailer road-trains with all tri-axle groups and concessional loading, and assuming that every truck does 4 round trips a 24-hour period, it would appear that Midwest would be able to move 1.1 million tonnes per year in to Geraldton. However, plans don't always work!

Some years ago, I was involved in the transport of iron ore from Mining Area C to Orebody 25, just outside of Newman, as a part of BHPBilliton's bulk sample project - to see if the Chinese steel mills would be happy with the type of ore coming out of Area C. The company I was with at the time used up to 12 triple and quad trailer combinations for the run, with gross weights of 170 tonnes for a quad and 140 tonnes for a triple. With a good head start and tail wind, we were able to do up to 5 round trips every 24 hours - and it still took us 10 months to cart 1.2 million tonnes on the contract. And we only had a 130km lead!

Truck drivers are becoming expensive too - some companies around Kalgoorlie are offering over $40 an hour, plus meal expenses etc. for drivers. I don't think Patience will necessarily have too much luck getting the 36 drivers they require straight away. But good luck to them!

As for Midwest complaint about having to double handle the ore en route to Geraldton, I fail to see their worry. Morawa would make a handy bulk storage area for excess ore without the requirement to build huge sheds over the stockpiles as they needed to do in Esperance...
  djukinX1016 Deputy Commissioner

Midwest have commenced their trucking operations, so it looks like the Tilley siding will now be disused even before it started.

Gindalbie are letting contracts for their project and this includes a new rail line to the mine slated to start in the first quarter next year. Today a $70 million construction camp contract was announced.

They will install a rotary dumper  at the Port, meanwhile it has been reported that the Port turned down a $15 million contribution for the upgrade of the existing unloader and is intending to spend up to $24 million itself on an upgrade. This will ensure the unloader remains as a common user facility. Mount Gibson have stated that they will not start Extension Hill until it knows the Port will progress with the unloader upgrade.




Latest update on RailWA, a couple of pics of 6001.
  djukinX1016 Deputy Commissioner

How things have changed in 14 months, where are things at now:
Gindalbie have announced that they have done a deal with Sinosteel Midwest and have commenced dropping ore at Tilley Siding and will be using Midwest's stored KHBF's for at least 8 months until their own facilities are available. So rail haulage will be on the go before to long. Sinosteel have an arrangement to use Gindalbies Karara's facilities once established as well

Gindalbie are currently building their 85km spur line from Tilley siding near Morawa and the rail has been delivered. Works underway at Geraldton Port include a new shed, shipping berth, ship loader and rail twin car car dumper. Mine site works are happening along with construction of the concentrators. Production still proposed to be approx 10 million tonnes a year initially and currently spending $2 billion on the project.

Mount Gibsons new shed is nearly complete at the Port, rail spur at Perenjori is under construction, mining as started and trains expected to start mid year 2011. Wagons are already here.

According to Westnets website the Midwest Rail project is due to start within the next month or so, and figures of $450 million are being quoted.

Why the upgrades up this way? for example the Narngulu to Mullewa line, will by this time next year have around 16 million tonnes per year on it and this puts it above the tonnages carried on the south west main and the standard gauge to Kalgoorlie. It is feasible that this will go to 20 million tonnes within a couple of years. Add in the next wave of projects and who knows?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
What's the lates new on the OPR heavy haul system ?

There are many reports found online that focus on Iron Ore haulage, and claim the Narngulu to Mullewa line Is not the best line for heavy haul, due to It grades and pioneer alinement.

There are some plans to build an Inter connecter line from just West of Mullewa (5 km or some thing like that) Northwards to the OPR.

Is this Inter connector line still on the cards
http://www.planning.wa.gov.au/Oakajee%20brochure.pdf?id=2322
http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/docs/877_B915.pdf

Could the Narngulu to Mullewa line end up being superseded by the other lines around It built to greater standards.

Is the Dongara to Eneabba line out of service now ?
  DBclass Chief Commissioner

Location: Western Australia
Line to Eneabba looked pretty unused when i saw it last weekend.
  wn514 Chief Commissioner

Location: at a skyhooks concert living in the 70's
What's the lates new on the OPR heavy haul system ?

There are many reports found online that focus on Iron Ore haulage, and claim the Narngulu to Mullewa line Is not the best line for heavy haul, due to It grades and pioneer alinement.

There are some plans to build an Inter connecter line from just West of Mullewa (5 km or some thing like that) Northwards to the OPR.

Is this Inter connector line still on the cards
http://www.planning.wa.gov.au/Oakajee%20brochure.pdf?id=2322
http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/docs/877_B915.pdf

Could the Narngulu to Mullewa line end up being superseded by the other lines around It built to greater standards.

Is the Dongara to Eneabba line out of service now ?
"Nightfire"
yep. the sand train finished up about a year or so ago.
wal.
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
Hi All,

A couple of weeks ago I went for a little drive to check out the progress of the works between Geraldton and Morawa. Here's a few photos...

Some new track at Geraldton port


New QRN yard at East Narngulu hiding behind a dust storm...


Trackwork and embankment widening between Moonyanooka and Grant's Siding



Approaching Bringo


Eradu - can't see it in this photo but a new concrete deck has been provided on the Greenough River bridge



Updgrade sign, leaving Mullewa


Old and new side-by-side about 5km south of Mullewa



Old and new join about 6km south - this might be the location of Curara? Although HairyLeg has it marked a bit further south. Anyone know if this section is going to be retained as a passing loop?


Looking south about 7km from Mullewa


About 15km south, new line yet to be ballasted and tamped



Detail of the new rail and dual gauge sleepers


Wilroy



Dean Road crossing about 20km south




Tardun - reconstructed track on the existing alignment


Canna



New track bed approaching Tilley siding



Northern end of Tilley siding



The old line wasn't in the greatest shape...Laughing



Start of the branch to the Karara iron ore mine


A final view of the old and new at Tilley
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

Nice pics DrWaddles, very nice indeed...... Very Happy

Edit - I think the siding just south of Mullewa is going to be called "Monger", but it seems to be where "Curara" is marked on Google Maps.
  djukinX1016 Deputy Commissioner

Signs are up that this is indeed Monger Crossing loop
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Nice pics DrWaddles, very nice indeed...... Very Happy

Edit - I think the siding just south of Mullewa is going to be called "Monger", but it seems to be where "Curara" is marked on Google Maps.
"Bulbous"


Are these photos illustrating the rehabilitation of the existing line or is this a completely new line running next to the existing line? I am confused.

Regards
Brian
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Are Midwest Corp (Sinosteel) ever going to use rail?How many of their wagons are still stored at Narngulu?
"Jarroo"
Looked at their website today. Their "news" is that they'll be road hauling from Koolanooka to Geraldton; after having a nearby intersection rebuilt.
"dw54"


The mine at Koolanooka will be winding down shortly with the last of it coming out early next year.  Sinosteel have just recently announced the Blue Hills mine http://www.smcl.com.au/our_projects.html has been place don hold.  However, I have information this potential mine will have a much longer life than the Koolanooka mine.

I am told there was an intention to use rail for the currently operation but a commerial deal could not be reached and the road option was the only option left for them.

Regards
Brian
  Tiny Train Controller

Location: Kalgoorlie
Nice pics DrWaddles, very nice indeed...... Very Happy

Edit - I think the siding just south of Mullewa is going to be called "Monger", but it seems to be where "Curara" is marked on Google Maps.
"Bulbous"


Are these photos illustrating the rehabilitation of the existing line or is this a completely new line running next to the existing line? I am confused.

Regards
Brian
"bevans"


Bevans - brand new line parallel to the existing line, and now that the new line has been commisioned the old line will probably be removed almost entirely. Talk is that some small (very small) sections will remain for extending grain loading loops.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia


Bevans - brand new line parallel to the existing line, and now that the new line has been commisioned the old line will probably be removed almost entirely. Talk is that some small (very small) sections will remain for extending grain loading loops.
"Tiny"


Who owned the old line? Westrail?
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
Who owned the old line? Westrail?
"bevans"


Yes and the new line is also owned by them (now called Brookfield Rail).

I think it was a mix of Government and private funding which financed the upgrade?

Just to clarify Tiny's post - the existing line was rebuilt between Geraldton and Mullewa. Between Mullewa and Tilley, a new line on a better formation was laid beside the old line, within the same rail corridor. The new line has flattened out the alignment, as well as eased some curves, and provided new drainage, fresh ballast etc.

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