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EPA sidetracks Midwest plans

WEST Perth-based Midwest Corporation Ltd’s efforts to transfer its haulage operations from road to rail by the end of September has hit another snag, with an Environmental Protection Authority assessment due to delay the project by a further six months. Planning and Infrastrucutre Minister Alannah MacTiernan has pushed the industry hard to use rail in the transport of ore to Geraldton, but relented when the mining companies have failed to meet her targets. Midwest had previously won an extension of the deadline to September because of delays in negotiating a rail haulage agreement with ARG and the commissioning of its rail wagons. The company this week announced that it had taken delivery of 64 rail wagons at the port of Geraldton, but would not be able to use them until the environmental impact of the construction of an ore transfer facility at the Tilley railway siding was assessed. The specially modified wagons have been purchased from China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry (Group) Corporation an existing supplier to the region. The company has applied to Ms MacTiernan for an extension of the deadline to March 2008. -Andrew Hobbs

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