Article – Rail link would lift mining

28 April 2015
The Northern Star
A RAIL project linking Mount Isa to the Northern Territory will open up significant economic opportunities, particularly in the resources industry.
The Northern Territory Government will invest $1million over two years into feasibility studies for a potential new rail project linking Tennant Creek to Mount Isa.
“Budget 2015 invests heavily in infrastructure for the Territory’s future and a new 600-kilometre rail project linking these two centres has the potential to provide enormous economic opportunities, particularly in the resources industry,” Chief Minister Adam Giles said.
“This rail connection would provide a standard gauge rail link to the Port of Darwin from north western Queensland via the AustralAsia line, at the same time as opening up access to a broad new area of the NT.”
“Previous investigations indicated a number of mining companies in the Mount Isa area had an interest in shifting their exports of bulk materials through the Port of Darwin, instead of Townsville, if the cost of transport was right.”
Exporting minerals through Darwin could also alleviate shipping pressures in Far North Queensland.
Mount Isa mayor Tony McGrady said the proposal was a positive for relations between North West Queensland and the Northern Territory.
“I commend the NT government for having the foresight to spend $1million to see if there is potential for the rail line,” he said.
The study will look into whether there is enough trade for the line, considering much of the minerals from the region are currently transported to Townsville Port.
Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development Zone CEO Glen Graham said the rail line could open up a number of mining projects in the corridor.
“New mines west of Mount Isa would benefit from the rail line,” he said.
The corridor has the potential to include a railway link, pipelines and telecommunications infrastructure. There are significant potential cost savings by focusing on a multi-purpose corridor rather  than treating these as individual projects.
“The proposed link may also provide the opportunity for a new rail experience for tourists if it could connect with existing passenger rail services such as  The Inlander in Queensland and The Ghan here in the Territory,” Mr Giles said.
The rail line is a recommendation in Pivot North, the white paper into developing northern Australia.
Courtesy of The Northern Star