Four triple road trains to do coal haul along highway

TerraCom has been given approval by the State Government to truck coal from Blair Athol to Isaac Plains.
TerraCom has been given approval by the State Government to truck coal from Blair Athol to Isaac Plains. Google Maps

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 that Glencore didn't want to haul Blair Athol Coal while Glencore wasn't forthcoming with a comment for this story.

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 for a long-term solution.

That could take up to nine months despite Mr Soorley saying he hoped it would be up and running inside six after the board decided to fast-track the project.

Until then, four semi-trailers will leave Blair Athol each hour and haul the coal 110km to Isaac Plains where it will be loaded onto a train, about 190 trips a day including return journeys.

The extra trucks with three trailers each prompted safety concerns from the local 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 eventually result in less 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," he said.

"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 as long as Isaac Regional Council approved.

"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 dormant 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.

Topics:  coal industry isaac region isaac regional council mackay mining industry mining news news mackay