New $300M mine sparks opportunity for integral rail corridor upgrades

9th May 2024

A new era in mining is set to dawn in the Northwest with the approval of the $300M phosphate mine, creating 445 jobs and sparking calls for dire upgrades to existing rail and road networks.

The Paradise South mine, set to be an open-cut operation, is expected to excavate up to two million tons of phosphate over its initial 20-year lifespan.

Phosphate, a vital component in fertilizer for the agriculture sector, as well as in batteries and other technologies crucial for transition to a new-zero economy, will be the focus of the Paradise South mine.
The project not only meets domestic demand but also represents an export opportunity to Southeast Asia and New Zealand, tapping into a global surge in phosphate demand.

The mine’s strategic location will utilize the Port of Townsville for export, which has reignited calls for upgrades to rail and road infrastructure to ensure efficient transport from pit to port.

A key advocacy project for the region’s peak advocacy body – Townsville Enterprise, the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor (TEARC) has been in the planning for over 15 years.

First identified along with the Townsville Port Access Road, the rail corridor has been identified as the critical piece of infrastructure needed to improve rail access into the Port of Townsville and support a more efficient rail infrastructure layout within the Port precinct, relieving a known bottleneck.

Townsville Enterprise CEO Claudia Brumme-Smith highlights the urgency of TEARC’s implementation.

“The approval of the Paradise South Phosphate mine underscores the urgency of TEARC’s implementation, as efficient rail access is imperative for the transportation of phosphate to and from the port,” Ms. Brumme-Smith said.

“TEARC will not only support the growth of industries like mining but will also strengthen the region's economic resilience by streamlining logistics and ensuring competitive access to global markets.”

“We are calling on the government to commit funding to review the TEARC business case, detail design and progress the required development approvals along with funding the TEARC to ensure this corridor comes online in advance of future development.”


The Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor project is a proposed 8.3km rail freight line which will improve future connectivity between the port, Mount Isa and northern Queensland. TEARC would specifically connect the North Coast rail line directly into the Port of Townsville through the Townsville State Development Area, parallel to the Port Access Road, creating capacity for the growing tonnage demand on the Mount Isa rail system and improve traffic flow, amenity and safety by reducing the number of freight trains using the current line through Townsville's city centre.

The Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor is a long-term project that will support the growth of the Port of Townsville well into the future.

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