Australian copper miner CuDeco says its proposed multiuser rail facility in Cloncurry could increase drastically the amount of minerals transported by rail in Queenslandâs north-west.
CuDeco has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the lease up to 900 hectares of land in Cloncurry for construction of a multiuser, multi-purpose rail load-out facility. The land is located near the current Townsville/Mt Isa/Duchess rail lines and the Flinders Highway.
The company says a number of new  mines are expected to commence production in the Cloncurry region over the next one to three years however, a lack of transportation is a major constraint for emerging miners.
“Without facilities like the CuDeco Townsville port rail load/storage
and shiploader, and the proposed Cloncurry rail load facility being developed … the north-west region of Queensland cannot be developed to its full potential,” the company said in a statement.
The proposed facility would be used for rail shipment of products from CuDeco’s Rocklands Group Copper project and would be designed to cater for third-party users that would use the company’s rail network to be constructed on the site.
Rocklands is forecast to commence production in late 2012 and is expected to export up to around 350,000 tonnes of concentrates per year.
CuDeco has an agreement to use the existing Cloncurry facility for the early stages of its Rocklands project, however the company says the facility is fully committed and unable to cope with increasing demand, particularly because of the need for long (1km) trains to travel through the centre of the Cloncurry township.
The company said the proposed facility could potentially store more than 1.5m tonnes of product at any one time and the rail loop component would allow for much greater cargo tonnages to be achieved on the existing Mt Isa/Townsville line.
If fully implemented, the conditions of the MOU would entitle CuDeco to a 40-year lease over the land.