Australia’s largest rail freight company QR National (ASX:QRN) is evaluating an independent, multi-party railway to connect iron ore mines in the East Pilbara to Port Hedland in Western Australia.
QR has now inked a deal with Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) to jointly study a proposal to service iron ore deposits of Atlas and other miners, with a view to Atlas becoming the cornerstone user of the infrastructure.
QR and Atlas have been working informally on the proposal since last year and the formal agreement to explore opportunities will investigate the possibility of constructing and completing the line by 2015.
Shares in both companies rose after the announcement yesterday: Shares in QR National closed 1.1 per cent higher at $3.67. Shares in Atlas Iron closed 0.7 per cent higher at $2.87.
QR National posted a net profit of $189 million in the first half of the 2012 financial year.