Coal on the highway
THE State Government has given TerraCom the go-ahead to haul coal along the Peak Downs Hwy.
Safety concerns have been raised by Isaac Regional Council but it is a necessary move for TerraCom after negotiations failed with Glencore to use its rail infrastructure.
TerraCom chairman Jim Soorley said Glencore didn’t want to haul Blair Athol Coal.
In the meantime, TerraCom has teamed-up with Aurizon to recommission the old train line to Blair Athol and will build its own train loader at the mine.
That could take up to nine months despite Mr Soorley saying he hoped it would be done in six months.
Until then, four semi-trailers will leave Blair Athol each hour and haul the coal 110km to Isaac Plains where it will be loaded on to a train.
The extra trucks with three trailers each prompted safety concerns from the council which had to sign-off on the road transport agreement in order for the State Government to give TerraCom its approval.
Isaac Regional Council chief executive officer Gary Stevenson said the temporary solution was not ideal but would result in fewer trucks on the road.
“As a responsible authority for council-controlled roads, a small portion of the route, we’ve identified a number of important issues relating to safety and impacts on roads.
“We’ve acted on those concerns and given direction to TerraCom who’ve been responsive and taken action to address those concerns.”
A Department of Main Roads spokesperson said the Peak Downs Hwy was approved for this type of traffic and the department supported the move.
“We have agreed in principle with Blair Athol Mine to the movement of coal via the state-controlled road network, and are in discussions about the number and types of haulage vehicles,” the spokesperson said.
TerraCom bought the mine for $1 at the end of 2016 and started production in August this year.
Since then the company has extended the life of the mine by a year after upgrading the mine’s resources from 15.6 million tonnes to 21.9mt.
TRUCK PROGRESS: The dormant Blair Athol coal mine was bought by TerraCom for $1 at the end of 2016 and started production in August this year.