Australia’s BHP Billiton is studying the construction of its own dedicated rail line from the Goonyella Mine to a proposed BHP Billiton coal export terminal at Abbot Point, which is the subject of a separate agreement with the Queensland Government. This infrastructure will ultimately allow the export of up to 60 million metric tons (mt) of metallurgical coal annually.

The continuing BHP Billiton study has identified a single proposed rail corridor in consultation with local landowners in the region.

BHP Billiton Metallurgical Coal President, Hubie van Dalsen, said the company actively supports the concept of a common corridor for multiple rail proponents which would include a dedicated BHP Billiton rail line.

“We have been working closely with local landowners, many of whom have lived on the same properties for decades,” Mr van Dalsen said.“Some landowners have previously expressed concerns about the effect of multiple proposed rail corridors on landholdings. We have listened to their concerns and acted on the advice of the Queensland Government in pursuing a common corridor which could be used by other proponents.

“Local knowledge is providing a critical perspective on potential issues like stock crossings, flooding and environmental issues in determining the proposed corridor.”

To date, BHP Billiton has negotiated access for study purposes with more than 85% of landowners, taking a long-term view in developing the relationships.

“We have sought to take into account issues identified by landowners in determining the corridor alignment,” Mr van Dalsen said. “We are serious in our desire to work with all landowners to come up with a good solution for them and a good solution for us, taking into account the social, environmental and economic considerations of all parties.”

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