Monday 17th Jun, 2019

Queensland boosts mineral exports by half a billion dollars

Townsville. Photo: Port of Townsville

Freight charges will be discounted, and the Port of Townsville will get a new container terminal as part of the Queensland Government’s half a billion-dollar plan to boost mineral freight exports on the Mount Isa Line.

The plan aims to support Queensland’s five-year line maintenance budget in order to boost the state’s northern resources industry.

The State Government will contribute $30 million towards the freight terminal’s construction, with the Port of Townsville providing the remaining $18 million.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said the investment would promote mining and exploration in the state’s north west.

“Our state’s economy is stronger when we have a reliable supply of minerals for export,” Trad said.

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“This investment underlines our commitment to backing regional communities and regional jobs. We can improve reliability with better transport infrastructure and that’s what this plan will do.”

Trad said Queensland’s North West Mineral Province contains around 75 per cent of the state’s base metal and minerals, including copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold and phosphate deposits.

“The Port of Townsville is Australia’s largest exporter of zinc, copper, lead and fertiliser,” she said.

“A number of mines are trucking minerals from the north west to the port, and the trains that are carrying minerals in shipping containers have to be unloaded at Stuart and then trucked 12 kilometres to the port.

“Building a new common user rail freight terminal at the port will make the Mount Isa Line more attractive for exporters and take trucks off the Flinders Highway and Townsville’s roads.”

The Queensland Government will also provide $80 million over four years to reduce rail access charges on the Mount Isa Line, in order to drive the transition from road to rail.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said almost 75 per cent of the freight on the Mount Isa Line was made up of wagons carrying minerals, fertiliser and acid.

“Commercial operators pay access charges to Queensland Rail to use the Mount Isa line and industry has called on the State Government to make rail freight more competitive.

“We’ve listened and will provide Queensland Rail with $20 million each year starting, from 1 July this year, to reduce rail access charges and will work with industry on implementation arrangements.

“The Queensland Government is investing $380 million over five years to maintain and improve the line, making the freight journey faster and more reliable.”