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Asciano’s $320m rail deal confirms Qld growth

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Asciano subsidiary Pacific National has secured a $320m rail contract to haul up to 3m tonnes of coal a year in Queensland for Macarthur Coal and Singapore’s Noble Group. </span> <p>By Sineva Toevai and Jennifer Perry</p><p>The 10-year take or pay deal with Macarthur Coal and Noble Group’s joint venture, Middlemount Coal, will be the first to operate via the Northern Missing Link to the port of Abbot Point.</p><p>The port is up for sale in the Queensland Government’s privatisation program, and its capacity is reportedly being upgraded from 21m tonnes to 50m tonnes, predominantly through construction of the $1.1bn Missing Link rail way.</p><p>New diesel-powered trains will be used to haul the coal from the new Middlemount mine starting January 2012.</p><p>Macarthur Coal chief executive Nicole Hollows said alternative infrastructure options were necessary given long term demand projections for coal, with the contract providing the Middlemount mine access to expanded port capacity and diversification from the existing Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal.&nbsp</p><p>“Middlemount Coal has appointed an alliance to design and construct a dedicated rail loop to service the Middlemount Mine. Subject to approvals, the loop is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2011.” Hollows said.</p><p>Asciano managing director Mark Rowsthorn said the contract is a significant step in Asciano’s growth strategy and places the company in “prime position” to take advantage of further growth tonnages form coal producers who have committed to port capacity at Abbott Point.</p><p>“Asciano has exceeded it first year operations target by hauling over 14m tonnes of coal in Queensland,” Rowsthorn said.</p><p>“Asciano has now secured over 45 million tonnes of coal haulage contracts in Queensland which further reinforces our ability to deliver our Queensland coal strategy in the medium term.</p><p>“Our unique commercial structure continues to drive positive performance outcomes for all our customers and this is being recognised by both existing customers and potential customers in Queensland.”</p><p>Last month, Pacific National won a 10-year deal worth $775m contract to transport coal for Anglo American Metallurgical Coal in Queensland and two weeks ago beat QR for the contract to carry coal from Rio Tinto’s German Creek mine to Dalrymple Bay.<br />&nbsp</p>