Western Australia Minister for Transport Simon O’Brien
Karara Rail Bill Tabled In State Parliament
Victor P Taffa
Construction of another major iron ore railway in Western Australia’s Mid-West has moved a step closer with the introduction to State Parliament of the Railway (Tilley to Karara) Bill 2010.
Transport Minister Simon O’Brien said the development of the Mid-West region was a major focus for the State.
“The region currently lacks the transport infrastructure to enable mines to develop and to open up the region’s resources.” Mr. O’Brien said.
The Bill establishes the legislative authority to build a new freight rail line from Karara, in WA’s Mid-West region, 75 km West to Tilley, just north of Morawa.
The area is 300 km North-East of Perth and about 220 km South-East of Geraldton. Construction is expected to start later this year.
At Tilley, the Karara line can connect to existing infrastructure the State-owned, Westnet-managed freight line which runs north-west to Mullewa, then west to Geraldton providing the fledgling mine with immediate port access.
This is the precursor to a much bigger rail freight network which is planned to link up the iron ore resources of the Mid-West with the proposed new port of Oakajee, about 22 km north of Geraldton.
“To address the region’s needs, the State Government is working towards the development of a deep sea port at Oakajee along with associated rail infrastructure and a purpose-built, world-class industrial estate.” the Minister said.
“This will be a major contributor to the State’s economic development during the next 50 years with the potential to attract major new processing and export industries to WA.”
Mr. O’Brien said the new line would be designed, built, commissioned and operated by Karara Mining Ltd (KML) under the oversight of the Public Transport Authority (PTA) on behalf of Government.
“The resulting rail infrastructure will be Government-owned and therefore also available for use by other operators.” the Minister said.
KML’s current program anticipates the start of iron ore exports from Geraldton in the third quarter of next year, with a transition to Oakajee when the port and railway are operating.