Australian iron ore miner Gindalbie Metals recently completed rail contracts for the Karara Iron Ore Project in Western Australia. All documentation for the two key rail contracts–the long-term Rail Haulage Agreement signed on June 6 with Australian Western Railroads Pty Ltd (AWR), subsidiary if QR National Freight, and the 15-year rail access agreement with Brookfield Rail signed on August 3–have been finalized and both contracts are now unconditional.

The above rail contract with AWR is for the transportation of up to 10 million metric tons per year (mt/y) over a period of 10 years. Under this agreement, QR National Freight will provide a fleet of new locomotives and railcars and upgraded administration and maintenance facilities at the Narngulu East Facility near Geraldton.

The below rail contract is with Brookfield Rail, the lease-holder and operator of the existing 200-km narrow gauge rail line that runs from Morawa to Geraldton. This agreement includes provision for Brookfield Rail to undertake a major upgrade of this existing rail line, providing capacity for Karara’s Stage 1 production of 10 million mt/y and its anticipated Stage 2 expansion to 16 million mt/y. This includes the installation of dual gauge sleepers similar to those being installed on Karara’s 85-km spur line.

Brookfield Rail has already commenced the rail upgrade, with ongoing work scheduled to facilitate the required train paths to support initial ramp-up tonnages of ore from the Karara Project once commissioning commences in 2012. The rail upgrades are expected to be progressed in line with Karara’s ramp-up schedule, with full capacity reached in December 2012.

Gindalbie’s Managing Director, Tim Netscher, said the completion of the above and below rail contracts put the finishing touches to the end-to-end infrastructure solution for the Karara Project.“With construction of the 85-km spur line at an advanced stage, upgrades to the Brookfield Rail network underway, stringing of the powerline in progress, construction of the water pipeline complete and the Geraldton Port facilities taking shape, this is very exciting time for Karara as the key elements of our infrastructure solution enter into the final stages of construction.”