Aurizon to deliver thermal coal to RG Tanna Terminal

COAL haulage powerhouse Aurizon will spend up to $215 million on new trains and wagons after signing a deal with Xstrata to handle coal from its expanding Rolleston Mine in Central Queensland.

The agreement will have Aurizon - formerly QR National - delivering Rolleston's thermal coal to the RG Tanna Terminal with Wiggins Island Coal Terminal to be included once construction is finished.

Rolleston is in the midst of an expansion - Xstrata is building its production from 9.4 million tonnes of coal per year to 14.6 million tonnes by December next year.

That will be when the decade-long contract comes into place, not expiring until September 2025.

Further expansions at Rolleston could increase production further, potentially eclipsing the 20 million tonne mark.

Aurizon would now handle 80% of Xstrata's haulage needs, amounting to a combined total of 31 million tonnes per year across the miner's Queensland operations.

The rail giant's chief executive Lance Hockridge said it fought hard to score the lucrative contract.

"Xstrata ran a competitive bidding process for this large-scale contract for Rolleston, so Aurizon is extremely pleased with this vote of confidence," he said.

Aurizon is proving a powerful negotiator for 2013 so far, last week hammering out a deal to provide rail and haulage for the enormous GVK Hancock mine planned for the Galilee Basin.

In March, Aurizon signed a deal to move up to 65 million tonnes from BHP Billiton's Central Queensland mines earlier this month.

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