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Chinese rail giant to build Pilbara network

<p>The China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) will build and finance the railway component of Fortescue Metal’s $1.85bn iron ore project in Western Australia.</p> <p>Fortescue and CREC signed the build and transfer agreement in Beijing today (Monday, August 23).</p> <p>The rail link is the largest part of the Pilbara project, which also includes the $410m iron ore mine and $470m for new facilities in Port Hedland.</p> <p>Industry sources believe the value of the CREC contract will work out to be between $500m and $700m.</p> <p>"This long overdue facility will liberate otherwise stranded major deposits across the Pilbara and ensure that Australia doesn’t continue to lose its share of important growing overseas markets," Fortecue’s chief executive, Andrew Forrest, said.</p> <p>The independent line will run from mine sites in the Chichester Ranges to Port Hedland.</p> <p>Under the contract, CREC will design, build and commission the line, and then transfer the facility back to Fortescue once agreed performance specifications have been met.</p> <p>"CREC is fully confident about its capacity to build a heavy axle load railway in the Pilbara, a project able to deliver significant economic benefits to north Australia and China," CREC president Qin Jiaming said</p> <p>CREC will also source and finance most of the rollingstock for the project.</p> <p>Locomotives will "continue to be sourced internationally", Fortescue said.</p> <p>The company intends the rail link to be open to third party access.</p> <br />