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Treasurer's Decision On Third Party Rail Access

Number 36/08

BHP Billiton expressed its disappointment in the decision announced today by the Federal Treasurer to ‘declare’ BHP Billiton's West Australian Goldsworthy rail line.

Ian Ashby, President of Iron Ore, said: “Providing third party access to the company’s rail operations would compromise the efficiency of BHP Billiton’s integrated mine, port and rail operations. In the current fiscal year alone, these operations are expected to deliver more than 137 million tonnes of iron ore to customers all over the world and are already running at full capacity(1) .

“Our view is unchanged. The efficient delivery of iron ore to our customers should not be compromised through allowing other companies to put their rail cars on our tracks, creating potential delays or disruption to our operations.”

Mr Ashby said that BHP Billiton had been working with the West Australian Government to develop a rail haulage regime and that this would be a preferable mechanism. “An access regime for providing rail haulage services is a more practical solution that would be less disruptive to the efficiency of the existing operations.”

BHP Billiton is entitled to seek a reconsideration of the Treasurer's decision by the Australian Competition Tribunal. The Company is currently involved in a similar reconsideration by the Tribunal in relation to the decision not to declare the Mt Newman line.

(1) 100% terms. BHP Billiton's attributable share of iron ore production at WAIO is approximately 85%

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