Aurizon CEO says the rail operator has not been approached by Adani to haul coal from its controversial Carmichael mine project.
Aurizon CEO says the rail operator has not been approached by Adani to haul coal from its controversial Carmichael mine project.

Aurizon not ‘ruling out’ cutting a deal with Adani

AURIZON chief executive Andrew Harding says the rail operator has not been approached by Adani to haul coal from its controversial Carmichael mine project.

Mr Harding made the comment when questioned by media in Mackay on Friday after speaking at the Resource Industry Network's November industry briefing.

"To date, we haven't been asked to be involved in (Adani's) rail freight and you've got to be asked first," he said.

"We're not ruling it in or ruling it out."

In August, it was revealed global engineering firm Aurecon had cut ties with Adani following weeks of disruptive campaigning and protests by green activists.

The snub came shortly after ABC News reported Aurizon had come under pressure from key investors not to cut deals with the Indian miner.

Last month, about 30 protesters blocked access to Aurizon's Mackay offices, demanding the company to "refuse to haul Adani's coal".

Frontline Action on Coal launched protest action in Mackay last month. About 30 people blocked entrances to Aurizon.
Frontline Action on Coal launched protest action in Mackay last month. About 30 people blocked entrances to Aurizon.

However, as a monopoly network operator, Aurizon is legally required to consider any access request to the Central Queensland Coal Network.

"Aurizon Network has a legal requirement … to consider all access and connection requests, initiate a process to assess these requests and treat all access requests confidentially," it said.

An Adani spokeswoman said the company had a range of options when it comes to rail haulage arrangements, including undertaking the work itself or contracting a third party.

 "At this point in time, we have not approached any third parties," she said.

During his speech to the November industry briefing, Mr Harding said the company expected to splash about $51 million on capital projects in regional Queensland this financial year.

Not ruling out Adani work: Aurizon chief executive Andrew Harding.
Not ruling out Adani work: Aurizon chief executive Andrew Harding.

This includes a new wagon overhaul facility under construction at Jilalan, near Sarina.

About 5000 wagons will be overhauled in the facility over the next decade.

"Local contractors have been engaged to assist in the build, including concreters, plumbers, electricians and steel fixers," Mr Harding said.

"Local companies have also supplied plant hire and other items."

Two-thirds of all Australian coal either travels on Aurizon trains or its Central Queensland network.

PROJECT: A new wagon overhaul facility being constructed near Sarina.
PROJECT: A new wagon overhaul facility being constructed near Sarina.

Mr Harding said coal, particularly high-quality metallurgical found in Central Queensland, was well positioned for continued growth.

"When I look at what the customers want in southeast Asia - they want more coal," he said.

"It's a fairly small rate that it's growing at - being one to two per cent - but we're seeing that for about the next 10 years."