21/02/2008 - 09:56

Midwest Corp ore to move to rail

21/02/2008 - 09:56

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A planning appeal decision has cleared the way for Midwest Corporation to move its iron ore from road to rail.

A planning appeal decision has cleared the way for Midwest Corporation to move its iron ore from road to rail.

Planning and infrastructure minister Alannah MacTiernan said Midwest now had approval to build a siding at Tilley, 2 kilometres north of Morawa, to transfer iron ore trucked from its Blue Hills and Koolanooka mines to rail, for the 180km trip to Geraldton Port.

"I considered carefully Morawa Shire's concerns about the impact of the project on the town and its preference for it to be built 5km from Morawa at Tilley East as a shared facility with Gindalbie Metals," Ms MacTiernan said.

"However on balance, I decided that it was in the strong interest of Mid-West region residents that this facility is built and a significant tonnage of ore is taken off the road between the mine and the port.

"The proposal already has EPA approval and the company has agreed to take significant measures to reduce the visual, dust and noise impact of its operations on surrounding areas.

"I did not consider it reasonable to further delay the project on the chance that the Tilley East proposal, which does not yet have environmental approval, would be developed by Gindalbie.

"The Gindalbie project at Mount Karara is at least two or three years away and, if it proceeds, will use different, heavier infrastructure and rolling stock than the MWC proposal.

"The conversion of Midwest's operations to rail would see the equivalent of 100 fewer large truck movements on the region's roads each day.

"The company has already invested $6 million in rail cars to enable them to make the change and should be in a position to start constructing the facility very quickly."

The minister said that she had also approved an extension of the company's permit to carry iron ore by road until March 25, 2008.

"At this time I'll review the permit and consider extending it, if the company has made substantial progress towards constructing the Tilley facility," she said.

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