CuDeco plans new train set for NW Queensland players.

ASX 200 member CuDeco has entered into a conditional Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the lease up to 900 hectares of land located outside the south-east boundary of the township of Cloncurry in Queensland.

The land has been earmarked for the construction of a multi-user, multi-purpose rail load-out facility.

The area of land under question is located in close proximity to the current Townsville/Mt Isa/Duchess rail line network & the Flinders Highway.

The conditions for the MOU if fully implemented will entitle CuDeco to a lease over the land for 40 years.

Should the construction of the facility go ahead it will no doubt become the envy of the country’s other mining power-house state, Western Australia, where the subject of third party access to railway infrastructure continues to be a rock on the tracks of progress.

The new CuDeco train set is destined to become not only a crucial aspect for the company but also for other companies operating within the north-west Queensland region, as it is being designed specifically with third-party users in mind.

If realised the rail and load-out facility will be utilised for the rail shipment of products from CuDeco’s Rocklands Group copper project, which is forecast to commence production in late 2012.

Rocklands is expected to export up to around 350,000 tonnes of concentrates per year.

Third parties that find themselves fortunate enough to be invited to use the new CuDeco rail network will be required to construct their own storage sheds in allocated areas.

Additionally third parties will be invited to utilise CuDeco’s Port Facility at Townsville, which is in the final stage of granting approval of the Development Licence to construct a 200,000 tonne storage/rail unloading and ship loading facility.

CuDeco’s phone has already been running hot with the company intimating that it has already received several enquiries from interested third parties eager to participate in both the Cloncurry and Townsville rail load and unload rail facilities.

The company is fairly confident that, if implemented, the new rail facility will be fully tenanted by the forecast completion date.

Companies that fail to get on the first round should not fret as the design will incorporate room for further possible expansion to meet any additional output from new operations that may kick off in the coming years.

There is little doubt this proposed facility will be a boon for mining in the region, especially considering the number of new copper/lead/zinc/molybdenum/gold/ phosphate mines expected to be commencing production in the next one to three year time frame.

There is also increased superphosphate and sulphuric acid transport, all within the Cloncurry region of Queensland and transportation of these mineral products are not currently catered for.

The closing of the Mt Isa Copper Smelter combined with Xstrata’s announcement that Mt Isa copper concentrates will now have to be shipped overseas has highlighted the need for such a facility.

CuDeco’s infrastructure team have been in negotiations with a number of Queensland Government Departments over the past six months discussing the proposal and the facility management.

Part of the early phases of development will be to seek necessary government approvals and co-ordination agreements with the current state rail operators.

CuDeco has engaged infrastructure and engineering consultants, Robert Bird Group (RBG) to assist with the facility’s development.

RBG design group already has Phase 1 of the development underway, which includes survey and engineering assessment of site layouts, general engineering arrangements, and operational requirements and methodologies

The outcome of this developmental stage will be scrutinised by CuDeco’s infrastructure and logistical team to enable the company’s expectations and requirements to be incorporated into the project.

The projected facility will be able to store more than 1.5 million tonnes of product at any one time, with the rail loop component able to allow for much greater cargo tonnages to be achieved on the existing Mt Isa / Townsville line.