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Bootu Creek mine boosts Darwin’s bulk goal

<p>Darwin’s ambitions to establish bulk trade through East Arm port will take a giant step forward next week when the manganese mine at Bootu Creek is opened. </p> <p>The Bootu Creek Resources mine will produce 600,000 tonnes of manganese ore a year for export to China and southeast Asia through the port of Darwin, the Northern Territory Government said.</p> <p>The mine is expected to begin operations in the third quarter of 2005. </p> <p>It is a major boost for the port and for FreightLink, which are believed to be close to formalising a deal for hauling the bulk ore from a rail siding near Tennant Creek along the Adelaide-Darwin rail line to the port.</p> <p>"The mine will produce about 1,700 tonnes a day, which will see an additional three to four trains a week and an additional one to two bulk carrier ships calling at East Arm port every month," territory chief minister Clare Martin said.</p> <p>"Contracts have already been finalised for a 58 km haul road to a rail siding near Tennant Creek and for construction of mine site accommodation for about 80 workers." </p> <p>Brian O’Gallagher, director of investment attraction at the chief minister’s department, told <em>Lloyd’s List DCN</em> that the government had committed $11.2m to the development of East Arm’s bulk handling facilities.</p> <p>The facilities will consist of a rail dump, stockpile areas, a truck dump facility at the berth face and a bulk ship loader, Mr O’Gallagher said.</p> <p>FreightLink will also need to build a rail extension of about 800 metres from the Adelaide-Darwin main line to the rail dump facility. </p> <p>The government is currently finalising tender documents and design specifications for all those facilities, Mr O’Gallagher said.</p> <p>"We will be looking to go out to tender in a couple of months’ time," he said.</p> <p>"Everything bar the shiploader should be ready by mid-2005 and the shiploading facility will probably be ready more towards the end of 2005."</p> <p>Should exports from the mine start before the shiploader is ready, the parties have already agreed to an interim solution &#8211 using a stockpile spreader, Mr O’Gallagher said. "That may, or may not, have to come into play."</p> <p>The shiploader and stockpile area would have a capacity of about 3m tonnes year.</p> <p>Although Bootu Creek is the "anchor customer" for the facilities, they have been designed as common-user.</p> <p>The government and port have factored in a growth phase, which may include expanding the facilities &#8211 and possibly installing a conveyor system &#8211 if demand for bulk exports through Darwin exceed the designated 3m tonnes a year.</p> <p>"It’s a problem we’d like to have to deal with," Mr O’ Gallagher said. </p> <br />