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A Queensland-based company aims to start construction next year for a multi-user intermodal freight terminal near Cloncurry.

The $31 million rail infrastructure development promises to help debottleneck the capacity-constrained Great Northern Railway between Townsville and Mount Isa.

Grand Central Industries (Holdings) founder and chief executive Josip Obajdin said the project was anticipated to fill the latent capacity slack of the line by about 2 million tonnes per annum in Stage 1. 

Construction nears for $31m freight terminal project

“This debottlenecking infrastructure project, once in operation, is expected to materially increase the region’s economic development and commercial potential, and also deliver other ancillary flow-on benefits to downstream infrastructure, such as the Port of Townsville and reducing pressure of the capacity-constrained Flinders Highway,” he said. 

The planned infrastructure would allow two additional 1000m trains to access, load, unload and park at the right location to optimise railway’s efficiency and effectiveness, he said.

“The project’s vision is to be an open-access infrastructure solution for a variety of industry players across various sectors,” Mr Obajdin said.

Junior miners were particularly expected to welcome this infrastructure, as there were mineral deposits that may currently be stranded or not being fully optimised due to a lack of access to rail and rail haulage services, he said.

Cloncurry region investment welcome

Cloncurry Shire Mayor Greg Campbell said the council welcomed any local investment, especially when it unlocked greater economic potential for the region.

“If we can make our overall supply chain to get any of the products – whether agricultural or mining – to port cheaper, then that means we can have more projects start or the ones we have will be more efficient and so they can put more money back into the area,” he said.

Stage 1 of the project will include a 3.15km rail spur connecting to the Mount Isa line, two rail sidings (2.75km in total length) and a 1500m x 150m hardstand area to enable loading, offloading, stockpiling and parking of trains.

An intersection will connect to the Flinders Highway so that vehicles may easily access the 330ha site. 

Stage 2 is proposed to involve the transformation of the initial rail spur into a full balloon loop (providing access for potentially another two 1000m trains), as and when required in line with demand.

MrObajdin said the project was expected to have a positive environmental impact by potentially switching more than 1Mtpa off the roads to more cost-efficient and effective rail transportation services.

‘Shovel-ready’ after four years’ work

After being in the development phase for more than four years, the project is now ‘shovel-ready’, with all major approvals in place. 

Mr Obajdin said construction was expected to kick off in early 2020 and be completed within a year of commencement. 

“Currently GCIH is in advanced negotiations with a well-known global financier, so funding is expected to be secured shortly in line with the project’s forecast construction and delivery schedule,” he said.

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