Victoria Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder
Iluka Mineral Sands Freight Train Commences Trial Operation
Victor P Taffa
In another example of the Coalition Government working with the private sector to increase rail freight in Victoria, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder has welcomed today’s commencement of Iluka Resources Limited’s trial mineral sands trains from Hopetoun in northwest Victoria to Iluka’s Hamilton Mineral Separation Plant.
Mr. Mulder said that heavy mineral concentrate from the Ouyen area would now go by road to the Hopetoun railhead and then be carried 300 km on the standard gauge rail line to Hamilton.
“This new rail operation will be more efficient by removing the need for B Double trucks to carry the mineral sands all the way to Hamilton. As many as 20,000 truck movements a year may be cut from the Henty Highway with this alternative, reducing road wear and tear and improving local amenity, particularly in rural cities and towns such as Hopetoun, Warracknabeal, Horsham and Hamilton.” Mr. Mulder said.
Mr. Mulder said that just as the Coalition Government was working in partnership with Graincorp to reopen the Dimboola to Rainbow rail line to grain trains, the Government’s joint funding with Iluka would lower private sector costs and encourage investment and resultant jobs in country Victoria.
“This $9 Million Iluka Resources rail freight project involves Iluka providing $5 Million and the Victorian Government $4 Million, the latter largely through Regional Development Victoria. The project consists of a rail loading facility at Hopetoun, together with rail sidings and an unloading facility at Iluka’s Hamilton Mineral Separation Plant.” Mr. Mulder said.
Iluka Resources Limited processes heavy mineral concentrate at the Hamilton site of which 200,000 to 250,000 tonnes is exported primarily through the Port of Portland every year.
Mr. Mulder said that the Coalition Government was committed to growing freight on rail in Victoria and providing more efficient access to ports with the assistance of rail operators such as El Zorro, which is running Iluka’s mineral sands train.
Iluka’s General Manager, Australian Operations, Mr. Steve Wickham said that the rail freight project was another sign of Iluka’s investment in Victoria.
“Iluka is pleased to partner with the Coalition Government in the rail siding project. It will benefit Victoria’s economy.” Mr. Wickham said.
The 10 day trial will allow Iluka to test optimal operational practices for full time operation when the train should run six days a week in each direction between Hopetoun and Hamilton.