Rail logistics giant Aurizon and GVK Hancock have announced the signing of a new agreement to deliver a multi-million joint rail and port infrastructure project to unlock the massive coal reserves of Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Under the proposed deal, Aurizon will acquire a majority interest in Hancock Coal Infrastructure, which owns GVK’s rail and port projects, to deliver one of the state’s largest combined infrastructure projects.

The deal will see the delivery of a 60mtpa combined port and rail project that will seek to underpin GVK’s ongoing development of its coal assets in the Galilee Basin.

These projects comprise a greenfield rail project and a development right for a coal terminal at Abbot Point. GVK Hancock received the primary State and Commonwealth environmental approvals for its greenfield rail project in May and August 2012 respectively. GVK Hancock’s port project received Commonwealth environmental approval in October 2012.

Collectively the proposed development of the rail and port infrastructure which is expected to deliver export capacity of 60 mtpa could represent an investment for Queensland in the order of $6 billion.

“This is one of the most significant deals in Queensland’s coal history. The development of the rail and port infrastructure will unlock the Galilee Basin and see the development of Alpha, Kevin’s Corner and Alpha West, creating one of the largest integrated coal development projects globally. I am sure it will be a win-win relationship leveraging on each other’s strengths in project development and operation." said Dr G V Krishna Reddy, Chairman of GVK.

Aurizon and GVK Hancock would also jointly determine the optimum rail solution that may include a combination of GVK Hancock’s rail project and Aurizon’s Central Queensland Integrated Rail Project (CQIRP) that would ultimately connect with the proposed T3 coal terminal at Abbot Point.