Territory Stories

Parliamentary Speeches, Debates and Public Statements about the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway since Self - Government

Details:

Title

Parliamentary Speeches, Debates and Public Statements about the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway since Self - Government

Creator

Hawthorne, Marilyn; Northern Territory Library. Parliamentary Library Service

Collection

Research Papers; ParliamentNT; Research paper; no. 2

Date

2000

Notes

Contact Library & Archives NT for this resource; Made available by via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)

Language

English

Subject

Railroads -- Northern Territory; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Railway

Publisher name

Northern Territory Library

Place of publication

Darwin

Series

Research paper; no. 2

File type

application/pdf

Use

Atttribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government

License

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

Parent handle

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/83440

Citation address

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/356590

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Page content

The second aspect that I want to look at is the mining industry freight. This is an area where the inquiry's forecast was most grossly underestimated and unjustified. The project analysis of the technical and economic data provided by relevant mining companies provided the Northern Territory government with the information to conclude that the expected freight to be generated by the mining industry in this north-south corridor would be 733 000 t. Full details of the methodology and expected inputs and outputs is provided in the Northern Territory government's submission. The inquiry, however, selected 2 substantially lower tonnages: 478 000 t and 578 000 t. It did not provide details of the methodology used and it did not justify the estimates. Some of the reasons for the misjudgments of the inquiry could possibly be that, firstly, the inquiry took the view that some 158 000 t of the mining inputs included by the Northern Territory government as general stores in 1992 were really population-dependent, non-bulk freight. This is incorrect, Mr Speaker. General stores referred only to the material inputs used directly in the mining operation; for example, the supplies of explosives, drill bits, reagents, lubricants etc. It did not include food and drink and consumables that would be used by populations of mining towns. The Territory's case was supported by the action of the inquiry actually raising the population-dependent, non-bulk freight component for projected mining operations by 15%. The inquiry ignored the expected freight contribution by a number of projects which have proven viable. The Territory estimated that these projects would total 405 000 t in 1992. Obviously, the Jabiluka and Koongarra deposits were completely ignored and this drops the freight estimate down by 87 000 t in 1992. That is an area that cannot be ignored. The uranium mining will have to go ahead. At this stage, we do not know exactly when but I consider that it will be in the next 10 years. Other current and expected developments that were discredited by the inquiry were the reduction of 12 000 t from the Argyle diamond mine, the Woodcutters Page 293 lead zinc mine - 30 000 t was missed out there - the Enterprise Gold Creek gold mine, the Peko Wallsend Tennant Creek operation, the Mataranka limestone venture and a number of others. Ignoring these cut down the tonnage to a significant extent. Yet the inquiry quite arbitarily added another 150 000 t to cover bulk mine outputs, which it considered were from some of the above mines and some future mining. Even the Territory's most optimistic outlook could not see much extra in future mining but obviously Mr Hill decided that he knew better. There was an inference that the existing and future projects that the Territory listed would soon exhaust their reserves. With the exception of the Koongarra and Warrego Gecko mines, all the other major mining concerns considered in the Territory government's submission have proven or inferred reserves adequate for operation beyond the year 2000 - that is at forecast production rates. The deposits could be much larger, but I do not think any mining company seeks to prove reserves if it has 20 years' reserves at present. Another thing that I found very upsetting was the inquiry's rejection of the Frances Creek iron ore mine. One reason laid down by the inquiry was that it considered that iron ore was all of the one quality right throughout the country and that the ore being supplied from the Pilbara would do the job everywhere. I think that the ore available at Frances Creek is a specialist type of ore and examples of that were quite evident in the Territory government's submission. The other reason why the inquiry said that Frances Creek was not viable was that the bulk-loading facilities at the port were inoperable. It said that they were ruined by the cyclone. However, I think that that is indicative of Mr Hill's approach to this whole operation. He ignored anything that might support the concept of this railway. Actually, I think that is a good example of how poorly he has looked into facts in the Territory.


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