AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Murchison and Midwest eye `northern rail route’ to Oakajee

<p>Murchison Metals and Midwest Corp will seek to build a 440 km direct standard gauge rail link running southwest from their respective Jack Hills and Weld Range iron ore projects to the proposed port at Oakajee, the companies said this week.</p> <p>A duplicate narrow-gauge southern link via Mullewa and Pindar was rejected for the project, which is crucial for the projected 25m tonnes a year second stage of Jack Hills now under feasibility study.</p> <p>The decision was based on consulting engineer Maunsell’s assessment of rail infrastructure options as part of the Northern Infrastructure Feasibility Study, which has gained Western Australian Government backing.</p> <p>Murchison revealed on June 27 the formation of an infrastructure consortium with Posco, Mitsubishi and Toll to present an infrastructure proposal to build, own and operate the new railway and port.</p> <p>&#8220A northern rail route has an estimated line capital cost of $530m, which compares favourably with the southern route capital cost of $1.1bn,&#8221 Murchison said yesterday. </p> <p>&#8220Line distance and substantial construction challenges account for a substantial portion of the adverse cost differential of the southern route.</p> <p>&#8220Additionally, the cost of locomotives and rolling stock for a standard gauge line would cost 60% more on a southern route, as compared to the preferred northern route from Jack Hills and Weld Range to Oakajee.&#8221</p> <br />